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.
In the Fall of 2021, the gardens were in a state of neglect. They received very little attention during the pandemic. Summer storms blew down trees and damaged the net covered garden. People brought their horses and goats the grounds and tethered them. Their tie-lines damaged water risers and the irrigation systems.
Over the 2021 -22 winter, lots of progress was made to bring the gardens back to their former glory. Peter Earley prepared a number of vegetable beds and planted them with lettuce, bok choy and other greens. Volunteers came and harvested the produce which was taken to the local Tianguis market. Proceeds from the sales were used to repair and upgrade equipment at the garden.
The rains in October 2022 swept lots of debris (sand & rocks) from the street onto some of our garden beds near the main entrance. Vines and other weeds have overtaken many of the beds, but our gardener has taken his weed trimmer and cleared paths to the tool shed and the "sunscreen" growing shed.
This year we are having weekly meetings on Saturdays to re-vitalize the program. All are welcome to come and participate. For more information see the "events" tab.
Some past partnerships have included:
Middle School of La Manzanilla,
Mexico National Institute of Social Development (INDESOL), International Community Foundation,
Jalsico Institute for Social Devolpment (IJAS)