By Mallory Garcia, Albuquerque Public School Wellness Department Service Member
Gardens take so much work. They are incredibly needy in their infancy; procuring soil, seeds, tools, raw materials for raised beds, benches and fences. Some projects can seem too big before they even get started. Even if you have the materials, it takes a lot of manpower to get things going. If this sounds like your situation, don’t dismay. Let one Elementary school show you how this doesn’t have to stop you. Not only did they put together a garden, they created the garden of their dreams.
Lavaland Garden Club has perfected the art of asking. They made a wish list. A really detailed wish list. They didn’t keep it small and basic to be prudent- they asked for what they wanted. These items included: 4 kinds of fruit trees, a butterfly shaped pollinator area, 2 raised beds with soil, benches, signs and various stones to accentuate and create pathways. Guess what…they got it all!
There’s no real secret to asking for help- just give yourself ample time to plan. Talk to your students about what the garden in their heads looks like. What’s growing? Where? Where is your space to enjoy it all? (Pinterest can be an excellent motivator!) Once you’ve created a plan together it’s time to let the community in to help. Who has tools? Who is an undercover gardener? What extra materials are hanging out in hardware stores, nurseries, or even someone’s backyard? Before you know it your plan is a blueprint and you have (hopefully) gotten most of your materials. What comes next? Asking for more help!
Garden Club enlisted the help of classmates, community members, parents and friends to help their dream come to life. They picked a nice Saturday to invite everyone out to be a part of the process. They spoke to local restaurants about providing food, drinks, and raffle prizes…and they received all of it. People showed up in huge numbers because of the flyers they made. Four hours later Lavaland’s Community Garden Day was a roaring success. People young and old left tired but happy- full of good food and memories.
Last month Lavaland’s garden was featured in the Albuquerque Journal. To read more about the student’s future plans and ultimate goals, check out the article here: https://www.abqjournal.com/858264/former-trash-field-becomes-school-garden.html
Mallory Garcia is an Albuquerque native. She took a few years off to join the PeaceCorps in China before returning back to The Land of Enchantment. She hopes to return to her roots and her Grandpa’s favorite past time of gardening and then sitting under the Cottonwoods after a day’s work. You can contact Mallory at firstname.lastname@example.org