Middle School Garden Project

in La Manzanilla, Mcpio. La Huerta, Jalisco, Mexico

Historically, the Middle School Garden Project has been a successful way to provide hands-on learning experiences. Students participate in all aspects of gardening ranging from prepping the soil, planting, weeding to harvesting. The produce is sold at a weekly community market (Tanguis) and the students get to keep some of the proceeds for their efforts. The project has been a wonderful way to bring together the students with other community members who also share a passion for gardening.

The project had its beginnings as early as 2010. The non-profit organization, Tierralegre A.C., ( http://www.tierralegre.org/ ) was instrumental in developing much of the necessary infrastructure to support the gardens. Irrigation lines were installed, composting areas created, a tool shed and an open-air meeting shelter was built. Lots of fundraisers, private donations and support from a variety foundations and organizations made the project possible. Most importantly, has been hundreds of hours of service provided by volunteers!! It has also been facilitated through a lease of the property owned by the local ejido cooperative. It is the hope that the community will continue to support this project after Tierralegre's lease expires in 2025.

Currently, the gardens are in a state of neglect. They received very little attention during the pandemic. Summer storms blew down trees and damaged the net covered garden. Horses and goats have been grazing and their tie-lines have damaged water risers and the irrigation systems.

The good news is that lots of progress has been made to bring the gardens back to their former glory. Peter Earley has prepared a number of vegetable beds and planted them lettuce, bok choy and other greens.

Some partnerships have included:

Middle School of La Manzanilla,

Mexico National Institute of Social Development (INDESOL), International Community Foundation,

Jalsico Institute for Social Devolpment (IJAS)