Schoolyard Gardens

santa fe waldorf school gardenSchoolyard Gardens: Waldorf

Anyone who thinks that kids today are lazy hasn’t met Michael Oellig’s third grade students.

These nine- and ten-year-old Santa Fe Waldorf School students are an enthusiastic bunch. They greet visitors with a Ute blessing that sounds like a lilting song, look adults in the eye and…think plowing a garden by hand is fun.

It’s a bright Friday afternoon, the sky outside painted with pale cirrus clouds. The kids have just come in from recess, and their cheeks are flush from running around the playground through the cool late-winter air. Their south-facing classroom is sunny, warm and welcoming. Potted plants thrive along the windows, and the deep yellow walls cast everything in a golden light. An inspiring sense of calm pervades the room, even as the kids move furniture about. They laugh with each other as they quickly set up chairs in a large circle, then stand patiently until everything is ready for what will be a vibrant discussion about one of their favorite things about their school: the garden.

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Project Feed the Hood

SWOP nm project feed the hoodProject Feed the Hood

A patch of dirt heaped with old tires, soiled diapers and needles is an odd place for a garden. When the SouthWest Organizing Project got permission from the City of Albuquerque to take over the tract in early 2010, its workers and volunteers lugged out mounds of the stuff, including more than 35 wheelbarrows’ worth of glass. But once the weeds and debris were plucked and plots were laid, it produced more than 6,800 square feet of scarlet runners, tomatoes, onions, sweet corn, squash, pumpkins and yellow-meat watermelons, among a cornucopia of other produce.

Dubbed Project Feed the Hood, the mission of SWOP’s garden is to engage area restaurants in growing their own food and developing a healthy eating lifestyle. Sandwiched between the affluent Ridgecrest and Nob Hill areas, the Southeast Heights garden sits on the corner of Ross and Wellesley in a low-income and somewhat transient neighborhood. SWOP chose this plot for a reason: to organize. Continue reading