The Crestone Eagle • August, 2020

The Good News Report: The Crestone Town Garden Initiative

by Miranda Clendening

Even though the virus seems to have shut down a lot of things, it’s actually the opposite in many ways with exciting growth happening.

As a result of the virus many Crestone community leaders are seeing people popped out of complacency; people are now showing up asking how they can help.

There are many local initiatives designed to improve life in Crestone. The initiative growing the fastest with most interest from people is the Crestone Town Garden Initiative (CTGI) with nine organizations working together.

Originally the Crestone Baca Resiliency (CBR) joined with Saguache County Sustainable Environment and Economic Development (ScSEED). They applied for grants from Saguache County which were awarded in spring and fall of 2019. This grant money was used to start the community garden at the Little Shepherd Church site. The land was donated by the church. Ginny Ducale is successfully heading up this project. People are invited and encouraged to participate. (For more information on how to do so please see the end of this article.)

Everything went to a whole new level last fall when we applied to use the Town Hall greenhouse. At that time we also approached new organizations, forming partnerships with Shumei International Institute, Crestone Energy Fair, Crestone Youth Initiative, Crestone Charter School, Unify, and the Elder Care Cooperative. In addition, the Town has granted us a year’s lease, and is covering water and power for us to pursue food growing efforts using the greenhouse.

In November of 2019 we went to the next level of cooperation and support when the high school students at Crestone Charter School (CCS), as part of Organic Gardening Mentorship, and the Peace on Earth by 2030 game, decided that they wanted to tackle the greatest challenge they think our community has: poverty and lack of food. They saw kids coming to school hungry. This added the extra push needed for the Crestone Town Garden Initiative.

Since this time we’ve been able to add four other food growing sites on the private property of community members who have donated greenhouse space to our food initiative.

We’ve held multiple events, including the Town Hall Greenhouse Open House, and a series of well attended Crestone Gardening Festival workshops. Many people are making commitments to bring extra food to the Food Bank as part of our “curing hunger/food resiliency efforts”.

It is beautiful to see our community rising up and caring so much.

When the virus crisis happened Michael Fulcher formed the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Through CERT we’ve helped deliver food and supplies to 30+ elder shut-ins since the beginning of March.

CERT Home Food Delivery is available every Tuesday & Friday. To order food via CERT please call: Elephant Cloud at 719-496-0966 or Crestone Mercantile at 719-256-5887 and they can assist you.

Please call your order in between 9am and noon.

Volunteers are happy to continue to deliver food to elders who need it even after the concerns for the virus are over.

Community members contributed to put extra funds to Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN), and the Crestone Mercantile to make sure anyone in need who couldn’t afford it could get supplies if they had an emergency.

The food bank network used to only have food available once a month. Now they have food available two times a week and it includes fresh produce from the garden initiative. Supplies have been paid for by grant money, donors, and donations we’ve received. The more help we have, the more donations and volunteer participation, the bigger we can keep going with this.

Please join our Crestone community garden efforts by volunteering if you can. We meet every Saturday from 10:30 to 12:30 to work on the Town Hall greenhouse. We work on the community garden spot at Little Shepherd Church every Saturday from 9am to 1pm. We encourage wearing masks and keeping the 6’ social distancing, so please bring your own mask and join us if you can.

Thank you to all volunteers and the organizations working with us!

Please contact Ginny Ducale at 719-937-2319, or Miranda Clendening at 303-916-8639 to donate and/or add yourself to the list to volunteers.