Supporting the Next Generation of Gardeners

Fourth-grade students leaned in to hear about their choices of jobs in the garden from Charlie Love, their committed science teacher.

I spent a day in late September volunteering with students from our neighborhood elementary school at Durango's only community garden, Ohana Kuleana. The students have a large plot here in which they have grown squash, melons, corn, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and herbs under the direction of their committed science teacher for the past ten years.


The student's three sisters and pizza gardens.

The garden will be closing this fall as the property on which it grows will be sold. The day I was able to spend in the garden, students from the preschool and the fourth grade prepared for the garden's closure by digging up wooden garden beds, harvesting winter squash, and digging up perennials that will be living (hopefully) in my backyard over the winter. The students are supporting an effort to build a larger community garden, the SOIL Outdoor Learning Lab.

Mr. Love distributes freshly picked and sliced watermelon to students.

This garden has been a rich resource for these students, teaching them about growing, harvesting, and eating healthy food. While we were in the garden three separate groups of students were able to snack on the watermelon they had helped grow.

An Ohana Kuleana student-grown hybrid, waterlope, a decidedly juicy cross between the cantaloupe and the watermelon.

Ten percent of the profits from the 2023 Year-Round Gardening Calendar will be donated to support building this garden's replacement and preparing future gardeners. Check out the SOIL Outdoor Learning Lab plans for expanding this learning opportunity to the entire school district and the greater community.

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