Garden Giveaway! - Spring 2018

The Garden Project of SW Colorado, The Moniker Foundation, and Paonia Soil Co. are teaming up to provide one lucky school or organization in La Plata County, CO with nine Smart Pod gardening totes, and the tools, supplies, hands-on support, and training to grow their own food.

Schools and organizations who serve individuals and families in need, that are interested in the opportunity to start a garden and who have the ability to impact and inspire others to do the same, are encouraged to apply.

Goals:

To increase access to fresh food and gardens and to encourage more locally grown food in our community.

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Shari Fitzgerald - Where it All Began

It’s been twenty years since Shari Fitzgerald was assigned a project in her senior sociology class at Fort Lewis College. While her classmates spent the semester working closely with local nonprofits and organizations, Fitzgerald took a different approach. She created her own.

What would later turn into the The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado started as Greens and Things, an organization that provided at-risk youth with garden therapy. At the time, Fitzgerald was working with the same populations through other local organizations. It was then she noticed the kids she was working with responded well to being outdoors and getting their hands in the dirt.

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2018 Volunteer Opportunities

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The 2018 Volunteer Opportunities flyer is out! This is a quick overview of the opportunities we have to offer.

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Winter Junior Master Gardener Lessons

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This winter, our school garden educators have been teaching a few different lessons of our inaugural Junior Master Gardener lessons. These lessons, taught in conjunction with CSU Extension 4-H Agent Greg Felson, are a complete success! Since the 2nd grade students of Needham Elementary, Animas Valley Elementary, and Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary have gotten back from Winter Break, they have learned all about vermicomposting, Citizen Science, and plant needs!

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First 2018 Manna Garden Workday!!!!

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Darcy Parrillo - Returning to Your Roots

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In 1998, Shari Seifert Fitzgerald planted the seed that would soon grow into The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado. Originally named Greens & Things, the organization served at-risk youth, providing access to therapeutic gardening. Two decades later, we’ve evolved into a multifaceted nonprofit serving youth, food insecure families and individuals, and community members who have an interest in growing produce and digging in with their community.

A lot can happen in 20 years. We’ve experienced the toll of full organizational shifts, seeing beloved gardens close, and even considered the possibility of shutting the whole operation down. But for every setback, we’ve seen even more growth, optimism, perseverance in return. We’ve grown from one staff member to six. For many years we were without a showcase garden, but now have three under our belt. Most importantly, we’ve seen our community impact grow year in and year out. We’ve donated thousands of pounds of food to those in need, taught thousands  of students the wonders of eating fruits and veggies, and have provided the Durango community with a gardening haven.

Now it’s time to reflect. In 2018, we will share 20 stories or experiences from 20 folks who have been impacted by The Garden Project. From former staff, to community members, to business partners, we will be looking back on the grassroots impact TGP has made in our area.

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What Do We Do During Winter??

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One can only wonder what school gardeneers (yes, it's like musketeers but cooler) do during cold, Colorado winters. Well, we bring the garden into the classroom! This winter, Marissa and Will have been teaching Garden-Based Science Lessons and Junior Master Gardeners Lessons in classrooms around the county.

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Non-Profit of the Year!

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On January 18th, 2018 the Durango Chamber of Commerce awarded The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado with the prestigious 2017 Non-Profit of the Year award.

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Volunteer of the Year 2017

Congratulations to Marye Jackson, our intrepid 2017 Volunteer of the Year! Thank you Marye.

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Autumn Fun in the School Gardens

Fall 2017 was a fantastic season with our school gardens! Our school garden educators ran the after-school Dirt Club, winterized the garden beds for Farmer Days, and started our inaugural year of the Junior Master Gardeners program around the county.

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