Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Native Seeds, Healthy Green Chile Enchiladas, and a Rainwater Catchment System

By Julia Price

Staff and volunteers for the New Mexico Alliance for Children (Patsy Blasdell, Roger Allen, and Angie Fernandez) joined me in conducting weekly classes in gardening, composting, and healthy food preparation at the Mescalero Apache Middle School during January-May 2012.
The students learned about home gardening methods, planting with Native Seeds, and how to make healthy versions of traditional dishes, like Indian tacos, salsa, and green chile enchiladas. They studied whole vs. processed foods, and learned how to read food labels and understand the impact of food miles on our health and the environment.
This Spring, at Lincoln County Head Start, we built and painted a rainwater catchment system with the help of Ecoservants. Recycled items were used in the construction resulting in a more eco-friendly model.  We relocated the existing raised garden beds and filled them with soil and compost, so that students can experience growing their own food from seeds.

Together with Ecoservants and the US Forest Service, NMAC prepared and planted the gardens at the Mescalero Community Center, Head Start, and Smokey's Garden, adjacent to the Ranger Station on Mechem Drive in Ruidoso.  We have also led activities at Smokey's for Ruidoso Public School students and other community groups.  

This summer, we will again be working with the Boys and Girls Club (BGC) of Mescalero to bring them healthy snacks and enrichment activities of art, music/movement, and gardening events, in partnership with the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger, NMAC programs have been implemented at the BGC since 2007.

(The author is executive director of the New Mexico Alliance for Children)

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