| Ford Church

Cesar Chavez Organic Gardening Project Blazing With Fun!

Produce was harvested, meals were cooked, rivers were explored, and fires were blazing! In fact, two of the students from this course were able to start a fire using the more difficult bow-drill friction fire method on their first try, a Cottonwood Institute record. Some even made bow drill sets from the native cottonwood and willow trees to take home.

Bonfires, night hikes and heartfelt chats under the stars were not the only things taken home by an awesome bunch of FrontRange Earth Force (FREF) youth leaders. Over four days and three nights in early August, the group camped at Beyond Organic Farm, a unique operation along Four-Mile Creek in north Boulder. Here our gracious host, John Hallett, enlightened us about the principles of sustainable agriculture and its benefits for human health, community vitality, business enterprise and a cleaner planet. Indeed our bodies felt much better after munching on sweet and crunchy carrots throughout the course.

Sun-kissed mornings in the vegetable fields were welcomed by intriguing discussions in the shade about the core values of Cesar Chavez, such as self-empowerment, respect for all life, and celebration of community. The FREF students imagined what it would be like to spend full days farming outside and appreciated where their food comes from. To honor Cesar Chavez’ dedication for farmworkers’ rights and as a thank you to the folks at Beyond Organic, the group picked 50 pounds of beans that were sold at the local Farmer’s Market!

In the afternoons, we played sensory awareness and nature appreciation games, while laughing and learning together. Eventually, the chickens started getting used to our nonsense! An adventurous hike all the way up the creek to a diversion structure allowed us to practice animal tracking and we saw signs of raccoon, deer and fox. We ran back to our base camp through the rain to practice wilderness survival skills, deepening our connection to the outdoors and more fully understanding what to do in a survival situation. We wrapped up the course with FREF students cooking a community meal made with fresh veggies that we harvested that day – yum!

A special thanks goes out to our partners for this project, including Senakhu Donald-Riddick from Front Range Earth Force and their incredible group of youth, John Hallett and John McKenzie from Beyond Organic Farm for giving us this amazing opportunity, and Cottonwood Institute instructors Clark Patton and Kristin Maharg.

Thank you Kristin Maharg for writing this article, you rock!


Categories: Notes From The Field

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