2015 proved to be a successful year for the Manna Soup Kitchen Garden, with lots done to create a more productive, focused garden.
The Garden Share Program expanded from 7-10 families to 15 families.
Providing weekly shares of fresh vegetables and recipes for a total of 15 weeks.
- The garden produced a grand total of 885 pounds of produce:
670 pounds of produce for the Manna Garden Share Program and
215 pounds of produce for the Manna Kitchen and other Manna programs including the Culinary Arts Program.
A relationship between Cooking Matters and the Manna Garden Share Program was established to educate 10 different garden share recipients about how to prepare fresh vegetables.
- The garden reached 244 total participants including 192 volunteers.
The Garden Project ran 46 work days and volunteer opportunities.
The Manna Garden Apprenticeship was created and fostered a weekly relationship with a LPYS student and 2 other youth Manna clients.
500 lbs of tomatoes and 500 lbs of squash were frozen for the Manna Soup Kitchen for use over the winter.
2015 could be characterized as a year focused on infrastructure. Now that we have completed these major changes and improvements we can certainly expand our programs to reflect the current garden’s potential.
- Growing Space: The garden’s production space doubled with the creation of five 65ft beds that were dug out, filled and lined with rock work. Much of this work was done by Animas High School and Upward Bound.
- Hoop House: The donated hoop house was constructed by Durango’s local boy scout troop and their helpful adult volunteers.
- Worm Farm: Manna clients and Community Service volunteers dug out space to reinstall the worm bed on the south side of the garden. The worm bed held it’s second round of red wrigglers and was set up to run through the winter with hoops, plastic, and a solar fan. The castings from the worm farm will be added to the beds and used for compost tea. This “black gold” will greatly benefit the garden beds.
- Irrigation System: Manna’s outdated sprinkler system was replaced with a brand new drip system. San Juan Water Works installed drip lines throughout the 5 new beds, labyrinth, orchard, berry patches, and the new space for the hoophouse.
Compost: After years without compost, there are now 2 compost piles, one is now finished and the other is new and will be used over the winter for kitchen scraps (once bear season is over). The goal of the compost pile is to create enough compost to make compost tea for fertilizer and to provide the garden’s yearly compost needs for amendment in the fall and some in the spring.