Issue 6, April 2016
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MSTFP LOGO "Connecting our growing future with our farming heritage"
Inside this issue: 
 MSTFP students bring gardening skills to the White House
Meet MSTFP's new Director  •  An insider look at our garden collaborations
Spring Hoedown • Ag Expo "CALF" Recap • Dolores Plant Sale • Farm Corps 
Kemper Kids In Front of White House
Kemper Students Plant Which Garden?!

It's been two weeks since five Kemper students flew across the country, visited Washington DC, and teamed up with Michelle Obama to plant the White House Kitchen Garden. Unbelievable! We're so proud of the three boys and two girls who represented our region - including our county's Ute Mountain Ute Tribe - in this unique farm to school spotlighted event.  In the words of our Kemper Garden Coordinator, Danyel, "To all of the community volunteers, funders, partner organizations, local businesses that have helped MSTFP and Kemper; we’ve come this far because of your support."  THANK YOU! 

There's SO much to say about this trip - we won't even try to sum it up here. You can read any and/or all of the following articles for more information and interviews. There are some superb photos of the Kemper kids in action, too!

Kemper KidsThe Cortez Journal:
Kemper kids plant White House garden with Michelle Obama

The White House Blog:
The First Lady Welcomes Spring with Annual White House Kitchen Garden Planting
The First Lady joined students, as well as NASA representatives, to plant the White House Kitchen Garden and celebrate community and school gardens.

White House Garden
Take Part:

Kids Plant Michelle Obama’s White House Kitchen Garden for the Last Time
Eight years of growing vegetables on the South Lawn has helped to change conversations about food and diet in the U.S.

The Guardian:
Michelle Obama plants last White House garden and invites old friends

For additional excellent photos from the trip, let us point you here:
Mancos Students
Classroom Connections:
Spotlight on the Mancos School Garden
Montezuma School to Farm Project has found that collaborations are the key to classroom integration. Throughout the county, MSTFP's Garden Coordinators are constantly connecting with the teachers in their schools and tuning in to what each class is learning, needing reinforcement around, unable to cover, and more. This information helps the MSTFP team make our garden classes highly relevant, and widely applicable. 

We'll take you inside the Mancos School Garden's current middle and high school collaborations to show how a school garden can engage older students and integrate with their classes. 

The Mancos School Garden collaborates with and teaches four middle school school classes:
  • Outdoor Education Elective learns Leave No Trace Ethics and The 7 Leadership Principles through weekly classes with MSTFP on a quarterly basis. This year, the class project is centered around using Campsite Selection Principles and Outdoor Classroom Site Selection Principles to build a new outdoor classroom in the school orchard.
  • Health classes partner with MSTFP weekly for two quarters of the year for whole foods cooking classes, to learn good fats vs. bad fats, understand the role of minerals and nutrients in their bodies' performance and appearance, and study the sneaky way that unhealthy foods are marketed, advertised and packaged to appear to be a healthy choice.
  • MSTFP works with the Intro to Agriculture Elective weekly for three quarters of the year. The class uses indoor seeding under lights to both grow products for the Youth Farmers Market and transplant into the garden. This class places an emphasis on small business principles and considerations for vegetable production as a livelihood.
  • MSTFP holds Earth Science classes for two middle school science classes weekly, year round.
Additionally, the Mancos School Garden collaborates with and teaches three high school classes:
  • For two years and running, freshman English holds an Iron Chef Cooking Competition with ingredients from the school garden.
  • The high school health class receives lessons through MSTFP on good fats vs. bad fats, the role of minerals and nutrients in their bodies' performance and appearance, and the sneaky way that unhealthy foods are marketed, advertised and packaged to appear to be a healthy choice.
  • The high school Arts and Crafts elective is a weekly collaboration with MSTFP while Youth Farmers Markets are in season. Student-made items are sold at the YFM, and classes before and after the markets focus on interpreting the small business skills needed to budget for, develop, and sell the items.
Horse Driving
Students Flock to Fairgrounds
for Four States Ag Expo

MSTFP embraced a new role in this year's Four States Agricultural Exposition, which took place over three days at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds in mid March. We coordinated the Children's Agricultural Learning Facility (CALF), inviting an array of regional experts to connect with youngsters and teach what they know best.

Our official tally counted 430 students attending CALF on school fieldtrips. They came from Mancos, Dolores, Dove Creek, and Cortez, spent two hours participating in hands-on activities designed to build deeper understanding and appreciation for all kinds of agriculture.   Another 100+ kids visited CALF with their families on Saturday. 

BeekeepingIn just a glance around the facility during the Expo, one could see youngsters saving seeds, practicing leatherworking techniques, driving horses, testing various soils' ability to act as a filter, working with Navajo Churro fiber, examining the insides of a beehive, and sticking their snacks together with frosting to imitate a live welding demonstration. When not fully enraptured by bleating goats, rabbits, or a horse colorfully painted to externally display its digestive system, students could also be seen participating in relays (to sort the sources of different products), and dice games (teaching about water conservation).  What an incredible scene!

To all of the teachers, chaperons, and families who brought their kids to CALF, and to all of our presenters who contributed their time and energy to this event - THANK YOU! We hope you had a great experience, and look forward to seeing you next year. 

We'd like to thank the Four States Agricultural Exposition Board for inviting MSTFP to become more involved in CALF, and for providing such excellent support to our team during the event. 
Zoë Nelsen Joins the Team! 

MSTFP is excited to introduce our new Executive Director, Zoë Nelsen. Don’t hesitate to say hello and introduce yourself if you see Zoë around our towns!
Z. NelsenZoë was raised in Santa Fe, NM, and spent the majority of her life in the American Southwest. She’s worked in diverse educational settings for more than twenty years as a soccer and ski coach, wilderness and raft guide, and a classroom teacher and mentor. She holds degrees from nearby Fort Lewis and the University of New Mexico, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Sustainability Education through Prescott College. 
Zoë is a strong fit for our team because she brings a big picture view of the current state of our education systems, and experience facilitating collaboration between seemingly dissimilar organizations. She is adept at seeking out and defining common goals between people through active listening.

In Zoë’s eyes, education, food systems, and community participation are relevant focal areas for local and global change. The study of permaculture and regenerative design inform her work with the land, and the practice of restorative leadership supports her engagement with Montezuma School to Farm.

Welcome to the team, Zoë!
The 4th Annual Spring Hoedown is right around the corner!

Support your school gardens - Slap on your dancin' shoes this weekend and join us for a night of local food, drinks, music, and more!

Dolores Mother's Day Plant Sale!

Date: Thursday, May 5th
Time: 3-5 PM
Location: in front of the Dolores School
For Sale: plants of all shapes and sizes, plus an array of Mother's Day Gifts!  

Proceeds benefit the Dolores School Garden Program.
Farm Corps: Apply Now!

This summer, MSTFP will join forces with the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) to bring the region it's very first Farm Corps. Over the course of 4 weeks, corps members will install garden infrastructure, a heritage fruit orchard, and an educational wildlands trail at Mesa Elementary School in Cortez.  This work done by Farm Corps Members will ultimately lay the foundation for 400+ students in grades k-5 to receive an edible education. For students and youth corps members alike, this installation encourages a connection between the outdoors, a sense of stewardship, local food security, growing methods, and conservation service learning.

Dates: June 5th- July 1st, 2016
Length: 4 weeks, M-F camping
Ages: 14 - 17
Compensation: $265/week 

Read the full position description and apply here!
First Lady and Students
Want to be a part of the school garden movement?
(The First Lady is!)

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
Other ways YOU can help!

Our gardens are looking for the following items:
  • Chicken coop materials including, but not limited to, chicken wire fencing, feeders, and nesting boxes.
  • Perennial plants, for the benefit of the students and the pollinators alike! We encourage anyone dividing or trimming back their perennials to contribute to the school gardens. Note: we are not seeking strawberries or raspberries at this time.
Contact to make a donation
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
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.