Issue 7, June 2016
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MSTFP LOGO "Connecting our growing future with our farming heritage"
"Montezuma County has been such a great community to
work with. The people are friendly and engaged with making
positive changes in their community. It’s this local positivity and
involvement that makes it an awesome place to live and 
a great place to serve.”
Matt Foley, NCCC Member serving with MSTFP
Back to the White House!
Kemper Students Cooking with Michelle Obama and Rachel RayKemper Students returned to the White House Kitchen Garden in early June to harvest and cook with the First Lady. These students first visited the White House Garden back in April, when they participated in the garden's spring planting. This visit, they harvested the crops and whipped up a tasty, nutritious lunch with chef Rachel Ray.
Photo by @michelleobama on instagram
Cooking with the First LadyNews Coverage of the Spring Harvest
Photo by @whkitchengarden on instagram
Harvesting with the First Lady
Additional Event Coverage
Let's Move Blog: 
The Spring White House Kitchen Garden Harvest


Photo by Montezuma School to Farm Project
Michelle with Kemper Students
Did you miss the live stream of the Kemper students' harvest and food prep?
You can still watch it here.

Thanks to everyone who helped make both of these White House trips happen, and to everyone who's helped our program grow over the years. It's been a thrilling and unforgettable experience for us all. We are deeply appreciative of your support! 
Photo by @whkitchengarden on instagram
Mancos Students

AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps
(AmeriCorps NCCC)
Serving Montezuma County for THREE MONTHS!

This incredible team of ten began their service with MSTFP mid-April. They have worked at the Mancos, Dolores, Cortez Middle School, Cortez Rec Center, Kemper, SWOS, and Mesa school garden sites so far, not to mention out in McElmo Canyon with Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project at the Gold Medal Orchard and Battle Rock School. You also might have seen them volunteering on the weekends with some of our other remarkable local organizations. This is a seriously hardworking group and we can't thank them enough for the time and energy they bring to our project. 

Roof InstallationAlpine 2, the team serving here, is based out of the NCCC Southwest Region Campus in Denver. This group of 18-25 year olds will graduate from the program in July when they leave Montezuma County – this is their last project!  Over the course of 10 months, NCCC teams work on projects ranging from 6 to 12 weeks in length, related to infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, natural and other disasters, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Alpine 2 worked with Habitat for Humanity of Teller County Colorado to help build two homes and complete additional neighborhood revitalization projects. They constructed two miles of trail for the Current River State Park in Missouri, and deployed to St. Louis and Joplin, Mo. for disaster relief. They’ve also done SO SO much right here in our county. Read on to learn more about how they’re helping us build our capacity and increase community access to healthy, fresh, affordable produce. 
"The work we do helping to produce fresh, organic,
healthy, food and passing on knowledge and excitement to
kids aligns with the values I grew up with, yet goes one step
further. Though I was raised on fresh foods, my family
never grew it ourselves. Teaching kids to grow their own food
is so empowering to the whole community, bringing full

circle the cycle of food, health, and sustainability.”
Talia Feinberg, NCCC Member 

High Tunnel Retaining Wall
Since arriving in April, Alpine 2 installed a retaining wall and hauled TONS of dirt (literally, 55 tons of dirt) to fill the space behind the wall. This created a level surface for the Mancos School’s incoming high tunnel, and will greatly increase the amount of food the site can produce yearly. At other sites, the team helped build a roof structure and adobe benches, repair an adobe oven, level and fence off a future beehive site, construct drought tolerant wicking beds, plant orchards, install irrigation systems, paint loads of beautiful (yet easy to read) signs, and teach classes. They’ve also tackled an impressive amount of bed prep, compost, transplanting, watering and weeding at numerous sites. 

Emma planting at the Rec Center"I love seeing the immediate effects
of my
direct effort 
on the schools and the 
of Montezuma County. 
It is obvious talking to
the kiddos
that our work and MSTFP is benefiting 
their livelihood.

Additionally, I have learned that the
same things MSTFP values, I also value
and I will 
seek a community with similar
ideals after NCCC ends.”

Emma Brenneman, NCCC Member
MSTFP and our partners provide the team with educational support during their time here. This includes everything from task and tool specific knowledge to the history behind each project. We hope you’ll agree, it’s so important to understand both the how and why of what we do. 
"One project which was very meaningfulGold Medal Orchard Planting
to me was working on the Gold Medal Orchard
in Cortez. Having tried growing fruit trees
with little success at my home in Arlington, VA, 
I gained some understanding as to why my
peach tree still has not produced fruit after 7 years.
I learned how to care better for my own
apple trees back home, and at the same time,
helped to preserve rare species of apples, living
parts of an old tradition, closely intertwined
with the land of southwestern Colorado."

Maxwell Aifer, NCCC Member

Thank you to everyone who has already made this incredible team feel at home in our community. If you see the team members around our towns, be sure to thank them for all of their hard work!

Farm Corps Pilot at Mesa Elementary
This June, MSTFP is partnering with Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) to offer a Farm Corps program that will train, educate and coach young people from Montezuma County. Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) awarded $25,200 to this collaboration between MSTFP and SCC, through the Colorado Youth Corps Association. GOCO will utilize $500,000 in Colorado State Lottery proceeds designated to employ youth and young adults (ages 14-25) throughout the state on critical outdoor recreation and land conservation projects in 2016. A primary goal of this program is to help ease our state’s youth unemployment rate of 18.3%. 
MSTFP and SCC will offer project specific training to youth crew members in the skills required to build necessary elements of a school garden facility in the arid Southwest. By the end of the 4 week program, Farm Corps members will complete the following projects at Mesa Elementary School in Cortez: 
Shed Build
  • Install new raised garden beds with a drip irrigation system
  • Construct an 8-foot by 12-foot garden shed
  • Refurbish an existing School Garden Shade Ramada and add new benches
  • Build an outdoor adobe oven
  • Plant a small Heritage Fruit Orchard of six trees complete with drip irrigation and informational labels
  • Construct a 1/8-mile Educational Nature Trail Connecting Mesa School Wild Land Areas to the School Garden
  • Create and install educational garden and wild plant informational signage throughout the project garden, wild trail and orchard areas

SCC Farm Corps!The collaborative effort between SCC and MSTFP will serve as a pilot project for future SCC Farm Corps programs in the Southwest.  SCC hopes this will be the first of many local Farm Corps youth programs, offered annually in partnership with local growers and other community agricultural partners to encourage connection to the outdoors, instill stewardship of public lands, improve our local food security and growing methods and encourage conservation service learning. 

Find us at the Cortez Farmers Market!
July 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, & 30th
MSTFP, in collaboration with Cortez Middle School, will be hosting a 4 1/2 week-long summer Youth Farmers Apprenticeship Program beginning at the end of June. Participating students will learn the ins and outs of production farming, including how to:
  • tend to an acre of row crops
  • create a budget
  • design a planting schedule for timed harvest
  • determine market pricing for produce
  • set up, maintain and breakdown a market stand
  • handle money and keep records
  • provide customer service
The apprentice program is a great opportunity for students to experience their first job and learn through hands-on training. All students that successfully complete the program by attending 12 out of 14 work days will receive a $100 cash stipend. Additionally, participating students will receive a box of fresh produce to take home each week.  
Throughout the month of July our Apprentices will be practicing their skills and selling fresh garden produce at the Saturday Cortez Farmers Markets. We hope to see you out there!

Are you part of a group that's interested in volunteering at the school gardens?

We're happy to schedule a separate time for your group to come out and
participate in meaningful, hands-on service learning.
Contact for more information.

Horse Driving

Hoedown 2016
What a night! Phenomenal food, music, dancing, and community - all under one roof. We loved seeing everyone there and we can't wait to do it again next year!

This was our biggest year yet: we raised $9,000 in support of YOUR school gardens! Our deepest thanks go out to every individual, group, business, and organization that contributed to this event: from those who volunteered before, during, and after, to those that donated their highly skilled services or products in our auctions. Thank you to our local farmers, who supplied fresh food for the taco bar, to Sweetwater Gypsies for catering, and to Dolores River Brewery and Carver Brewing Company for the libations. 

Thank you to our incredibly talented musicians, for keeping the atmosphere so lively all night long. Free The Honey, 6 Dollar String Band and Carute Roma, you were great! Last but not least, we'd also like to shower gratitude upon our spectacular EmCees, Kellie Pettyjohn and Liz Bohm, for dedicating their time, energy, and charisma to engaging the audience throughout the night. 
MSTFP Garden Coordinator Spotlight: Tyler Hoyt

Irrigation LessonTyler's been a part of the MSTFP team for the last two years, laying a strong foundation at the Cortez Middle School by teaching six classes every day, for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. CMS houses MSTFP’s largest outdoor classroom, and sees the most regular student engagement. Between the educational garden, production area, heritage orchard, and high tunnel growing spaces, there are abundant learning opportunities here for students and aspiring farmers alike. For Tyler, the co-owner and manager of Green Table Farm in Mancos, CMS provided a hands-on training grounds, and helped prepare him for the transition to full-time farmer. 

Tyler wrapped up his time as the CMS Garden Coordinator as the school year came to a close. Now, in addition to managing his farm and selling produce at the Durango Farmer's Market, Tyler will periodically step into an Educator role with Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. 
Thanks for all of the time and energy you've put into growing this program Tyler.
We wish you all the best with your future endeavors!

  We're Hiring! 

Are you passionate about experiential education, agriculture, health, conservation, and/or local food systems? Consider applying to join our team! We're currently hiring AmeriCorps members to work in our school gardens starting in August.

MSTFP's AmeriCorps members serve as an experiential education instructors and key developers in our outdoor school garden classrooms, keep their hands in the dirt with school garden maintenance and expansion projects, and so much more. Read the job description and learn how to apply here.

First Lady and Students
Want to be a part of the school garden movement?
Your contributions are invaluable to the future of Montezuma School to Farm Project and the 2000+ students we serve. Every dollar counts, from purchasing seeds to building new gardens, to paying for our professional school garden teams. Together we are building a nationally acclaimed program. 
Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to:
MSTFP via PO Box 694, Mancos, CO 81328
Please make checks out to the "Mancos Conservation District"
and specify "MSTFP" in the subject line

Donate through PayPal
THANK YOU to our Local Support
Mancos, Dolores and Cortez School Districts
City of Cortez
Town of Mancos
Mancos and High Desert Conservation Districts
Mancos Valley Resources
Tierra Madre Herbs
Cliffrose Garden Center and Gifts
Kiwanis Club of Mesa Verde
Dolores Rotary Club
Coutts & Clark Western Foundation
Ricky King State Farm
Sophia Retreat & Event Center

Sponsor Logos
Special thanks to one of our newest sponsors:

Southwest Health System strives provide the highest quality health care to our community by bringing excellence, value and service together to promote, improve and restore health. We employ over 400 community members and are always working to bring the best, and most needed services to the community. We have 9 outpatient clinics for primary and specialty care, including a School-Based Health Center for RE-1 students and their siblings.

We are excited to partner with MSTFP because we believe it’s important to educate students about health and wellness from the beginning of their educational journeys. We are looking forward to a long, successful collaboration with MSTFP to promote health and wellness with a local twist.

Thanks for reading!
Until next time, follow us on:
For more information contact:
Zoë Nelsen, MSTFP Director

Phone: 505-690-0462

Copyright © 2016 Montezuma School to Farm Project, All rights reserved.