by Leigh Mills
I’ve known the Wards for many years. Dave, Suzanne and I have shared ceremonies, art workshops, and board memberships together. I joined the Central Colorado Foodshed Alliance and became a board member because of their wonderful energy. I’ve observed their commitment to growing and promoting local foods in the Arkansas Valley. They founded the Morgan Center for Earth Literacy and have created an urban homestead where people can come and reconnect with the earth and themselves.
Dave and Suzanne Ward were inspired to start the Morgan Center for Earth Literacy in 2004 after spending seven months as interns on the Genesis Farm in New Jersey with Miriam MacGillis, (genesisfarm.org). When I asked them what Earth Literacy is, they said, “It is a field of study in which we investigate the relationships between all life and the single, unfolding universe from which it came; a movement of people that know and understand that any future they may have is totally dependent on the health and vitality of the planet”. Anna Ward, their daughter and Farm Manager at the Morgan Center, said that Earth Literacy is part of the energy “helping to transform our culture to one which is sustaining, rather than consuming the Earth”.
In 2009, the Wards purchased a 100-year-old homestead in Poncha Springs, CO and have since been developing it into “an agri-tourism business . . . where we intentionally practice the sacred work of agriculture and Earth Literacy education to empower ourselves, our guests and our community”. The Morgan Center sits on 4 beautiful acres which has frontage along the Little Arkansas River. They have developed a 4,200 square foot garden which includes two hoop houses and a children’s garden. There are two large high tunnels. One is 26ft x 52ft and has cultivated beds filled with gorgeous heads of lettuce, pepper plants, celery, tomatoes and herbs. The other high tunnel, 30ft x 72ft, is newly acquired with the help of a grant from the National Resource Conservation Service and will have row crops as soon as it is ready to plant. A Memorial Orchard has several original apple and cherry trees with some plum trees that were added a few years ago. There are free-range laying hens and grazing llamas, too. A teepee stands near the river, ready to hold sacred ceremony.
The Morgan Center for Earth Literacy is very active in the Arkansas Valley Local Foods movement. They collaborate on shared projects with Guidestone, GARNA (Greater Arkansas River Nature Association), and the CSU Extension Service. They are board members and co-founders of the Central Colorado Foodshed Alliance and have a booth at the Salida Farmers Market every Saturday from 8:30am-1pm where they sell their fresh produce. Dave also cooks up yummy burritos made from fresh, local ingredients. Their products are also available at Ploughboy, Simple Foods, and Kathy’s Neighborhood Natural Goods in Salida.
The Ward family invites you to come to the Morgan Center for Earth Literacy to immerse yourself in its rejuvenating energy and “Find Your Roots in the Cosmos”. Check them out on Facebook, email Suzanne at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 719-539-8523 for an appointment.
Leigh Mills has lived, gardened, preserved food and saved seeds in the San Luis Valley for over 10 years. She’s written the “As the Worm Turns” column for the Eagle for three years and has started a high-altitude gardening and seed saving blog called The Infinite Bee. If you enjoy reading her monthly, visit her daily at TheInfiniteBee.com, where she welcomes your comments, questions, and suggestions about gardening, saving seeds, and practicing life.