promoting locally based agriculture through education, community outreach and networking

​ABQ School Gardens: Collective Work in Action

The magic of collective action and building movements cannot be understated.
Through Farm to School work, our partnerships in Albuquerque are proof that
coalitions, collaboration, and relationship are necessary in building in this
work. It’s been an honor to work alongside colleagues from SouthWest Organizing
Project, Albuquerque School Gardens, ​Kids Cook!, ABC Community School
Partnership, APS FNS, ​FoodCorps New Mexico, International District Healthy
Communities Coalition, and many more.​

Travis McKenzie guides APS School Garden Crawl participants through one of Kirtland Elementary's gardens. photo: Michelle Bianchi

Travis McKenzie guides APS School Garden Crawl participants through one of Kirtland Elementary’s gardens. photo: Michelle Bianchi

The APS School Garden Crawl and the ​1st Annual Gathering of the Gardens:
School Garden Conference ​are two events in a series of community gatherings
which were born out of a two-year planning process led by Growing Health &
Justice Coalition, with partners across ​Albuquerque. Our collective investment
into these events reflects our long-term commitment to strengthen communities’
capacity to advocate for the systems change they need through strategic
networking, skill-building, and visioning opportunities. These segments from KRQE
and KOB4 illustrate these concepts beautifully.

The Albuquerque Public Schools School Gardens Crawl, the first event of its kind
in Albuquerque, was created and executed in deep collaboration among
organizations, APS departments, community members and schools. It was a true
success, and outdid all expectations that we had for the pilot event. Out of 130
documented participants, 18% identified as students, 14% identified as parents
or guardians, 17% identified as teachers or school staff, 44% identified as
community (support organizations, volunteers, etc.), and 7% identified as school
or district leadership.

The 1st Annual Gathering of the Gardens: ABQ School Garden Conference was an event
that brought together over 150 people at Van Buren Middle School to share
resources, learn new skills, and envision what the future of healthy eating,
local food, and food justice initiatives look like across Albuquerque Public
Schools. The most exciting part of the event was the 28 pounds of school garden
produced greens, kale, and onions that went through a formal garden to cafeteria
process and into the lunchtime salad.

Kids Cook! and students prepare a school garden-grown salad for Gathering of the Gardens attendees. photo: Michelle Bianchi