Feature

Community garden sprouts unity

By: Jamison Wagner, Staff Reporter

For Biology major Stefany Olivas, working at the International District Community Garden is a valuable opportunity to learn more about garden ecosystems and how they can affect the community for the better, she said.

The garden is located at 1410 Wellesley Drive SE and has been running for the last four years. The group Project-Feed-The- Hood likes to focus on non-GMO seeds, as well as organic and cultural foods, she said.

Olivas is a former Chronicle employee and said she has been an intern for the project for several months now. Her focus is the International District Community Garden, the surrounding community and also the schools, she said.

Eventually though, the goal is for the garden to be completely run by the community, she said.

“When we are at the community garden working with these people we can give them this fresh-picked food and it goes straight from the garden to their table, and that is how it should be,” she said.

The members grow foods in a large lot and when harvest comes around everyone who has helped tend the garden will get a piece, she said.

“A saying that we have is ‘he who puts in takes out.’ It’s kind of like, ‘you reap what you sow’ but with a more positive aspect,” she said.

Part of what the group is doing is creating a model for a sustainable farm to help support this project, she said.

The community engagement that the project creates by getting people involved also helps to get healthier foods for the local families and children, she said.

Along with supporting garden clubs, the project is also working on creating a curriculum that can be merged into the schools based on gardening, as well as personal and community health, she said.

Another issue the project is looking into is food deserts, how long it takes for someone to get to a grocery store where they can buy fresh produce, and also what it takes for a consumer to get fresh organic fruits and vegetables, she said.

“This kind of situation falls into food justice. What are the inequalities in our food system? How do we raise awareness about that? We are trying to make healthy food more accessible,” she said.

The group focuses on raising awareness about our food systems, she said.

“We support garden schools, we work at getting engaged with the community, and we get involved in creating overall total change to the food system. So it is very proactive. We want to work on the solution and not just talk about the problems all the time,” she said.

According to projectfeedthehood.org the group has helped three schools in Albuquerque with making gardens and has two farms in addition to the International District Community Garden location.

Olivas said this job is perfect for her because she gets to work with UNM Service Corps and Southwest Organizing Project in communities where she can put her studies to use.

As far as her Biology degree goes, Olivas said she wants to eventually pursue plant and soil sciences, then agriculture, but right now she wants to study garden ecosystems and how they can have an effect on the community and its health.

For more information on Project-Feed-The-Hood or to volunteer, go to projectfeedthehood.org.

Upcoming Events:

Come to Unity Yoga:

  • Thursday June 13 from 6:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Saturday June 15:

  • Work day and trellis building workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturday June 22:

  • Volunteer Training Day from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Saturday June 29: 

  • Art, TBA
International District Community Garden
1410 Wellesley Drive SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

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