But there is a new crop of young people who have recently been transplanted to Montezuma County, and they are eager to send out their riotous roots and to produce long-lasting fruits for the towns of Dolores, Mancos and Cortez.
They are the incoming class of Americorps volunteers for Montezuma School to Farm Project. Hired by Executive Director Zoe Nelsen, each young volunteer has a special job to perform within the far-reaching scope of this vibrant program.
The School to Farm Project took root in 2009 as a program of the Mancos Conservation District and has steadily worked its way into each of the local school districts creating “accessible living laboratories” to local children.
Through the study and practice of planting, growing, harvesting and preparing food, students learn larger lessons about diet and nutrition, water and soil conservation, the benefits of an active lifestyle, and the connection between themselves and their habitat. The garden experience is embedded into every subject of the core curriculum.
Although Americorps volunteers participate in many shared activities, each incoming volunteer is also responsible for a specific assignment.
On Saturday, Oct. 15, residents have the opportunity to attend the annual Homespun Supper sponsored by Montezuma School to Farm and meet the new volunteers.
This fundraiser promises to be an evening of elegant cuisine and heartwarming celebration highlighting local foods, drinks, and inspiring garden tales. The five-course meal will be served by current and former Americorps volunteers.
Dinner begins at 6 p.m. and will be hosted at the Farm Bistro, 34 W. Main St. Tickets are $60, and the money will go toward bolstering and sustaining MSTFP’s many worthwhile projects that continue to dig their roots deep into the fabric of Montezuma County.
RSVP to the event is requested at (856) 340-1655 or MSTFPAmericorps@gmail.com.
At the dinner, meet the newest members of the Americorps team and learn what it is they do and why they chose to invest their time and energy into Montezuma County schools.
TITLE: Kemper School Garden Coordinator
HOMETOWN: Ripon, Wis.
SCHOOL: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
MAJOR IN COLLEGE: Global Studies with an emphasis on Food Security
JOB DESCRIPTION: Provide garden science and nutrition education to children through the development of gardening and nutrition education in the schools and summer programs. Provide fresh produce to the children during class tastings and to local food banks. Overall, my job is to get the children interested in where their food comes from, to educate them to a healthier lifestyle, and to excite them about coming out to the garden!
INTERESTS: Traveling, exploring coffee shops, organizing, cooking and--since I have moved out here – hiking is slowly becoming one of my interests.
SELF-DESCRIBED AS: Loyal, nice, dedicated, brave, and a cat-lover.
WHY AMERICORPS: I chose AmeriCorps because I want to serve and become integrated in a community that is different than where I come from. I want to take my skills and the ideas I have learned during my schooling to help the community. I had never been to Colorado and I am falling in love with it more each day. I am excited to see where the rest of this year is going to take me and MSTFP.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Beautiful, wide open spaces, and quiet, oh and the stars! I really like the small town feel and vibes I get in Dolores, but then it is nice to have Cortez or even Durango when I need the “big” city.
FAVORITE AUTHOR or ACTIVIST: My favorite activist/environmentalist is Bill McKibben because he is a man that stands up with great poise to educate the world, at every age, with his writing, speaking, and even more so, his actions.
WORDS TO LIVE BY: “Do something that scares you everyday.”
TITLE: Dolores School Garden Coordinator
HOMETOWN: Michigan City, Ind.
SCHOOL: Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.
MAJOR IN COLLEGE: Communication Studies; minor, Sustainable Development
INTERESTS: Food, groovy tunes, climbing, thinking, playing and exploring.
WHY AMERICORPS: I caught wind of this opportunity as a pure coincidence of the universe and accepted immediately. The project is precisely what I was looking for without even knowing.
FIRST IMPRESSION: Montezuma County so far seems to be a down-to-earth, tightknit group of individuals living truly and deliberately.
WORDS TO LIVE BY: “From small things, big things grow.” (Paul Kell)
TITLE: Cortez Middle School Garden Coordinator
HOMETOWN: Littleton, Colo.
SCHOOL: Regis University
MAJOR IN COLLEGE: Double major B.S. Environmental Science and B.A Spanish language
JOB DESCRIPTION: Assisting in day to day maintenance of the farm at Cortez Middle School and co-teaching our agricultural curriculum
INTERESTS: Fishing, hiking and tracking, bird watching, art, music, skiing, exploring, hanging out with friends
SELF DESCRIBED AS: A grateful human being who enjoys life.
WHY AMERICORPS: I feel called to service-oriented work
FIRST IMPRESSION: The landscape is strikingly gorgeous and the people are so friendly. Good fishing too!
FAVORITE QUOTE: “Caminante, no hay camino, se hace el camino al andar.” It translates to, “Traveller, there is no trail, you make the trail by walking.” (From author Antonio Machado)
WORDS TO LIVE BY: “Happy Trails y Huellas Profundas”
JOB DESCRIPTION: Garden coordinator at Mesa Elementary
INTERESTS: Hiking, camping, cooking, community events and places, nachos.
SELF-DESCRIBED AS: Interdisciplinary – I enjoy finding (sometimes unusual!) connections between people, places, and learning.
WHY AMERICORPS: I’m excited to work for MSTFP because I strongly believe in the empowerment that is sparked by learning in an outdoor setting. I appreciate how the programs of MSTFP encourage students to draw connections between themselves and the natural world and create a space where students can develop a sense of community.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Inviting, beautiful!