Taos Pueblo Young Growers (TPYG) are off to a great start! The first step was to find youth interested in growing food and right off the bat we had participants lining up to find out what TPYG had to offer!
Through a careful selection process, TPYG found six young people who access to some land, water, tools, and seed. The participants in the program are Daniel Martinez, Smoke Trujillo, Dwight Concha, Deanna Suazo, Tianna Suazo, and Jasmine Romero. It is nice to have an even group of both boys and girls as I think it is essential for both men and women to experience what an impact growing food can have on their lives for a healthy future.
After selection of the participants, individual land assessments were completed to see what the capacity for food production was. This assessment also included the intention of the young grower’s crop production and whether they would be growing for subsistence, entrepreneurship, or a hybrid of both.
All the participants chose to grow food both to eat for themselves and also to sell through our local organic grocer, farmers markets, and restaurants. These young people are ambitious and growing on plots in size from 1/8 of an acre up to 1 whole acre of vegetable production. Speaking from experience those are impressive garden sizes that will be able to produce hundreds of pounds of produce come late August, early September during harvest season!
After the land assessments, tractor work began to install the desired gardens! Bucket work, Plowing, Discing, and Planting as needed was provided to all the participants free of cost thanks to the TPYG program! Initial development of the land is the hardest step because not every person young or older has the cash to hire a tractor!
Once the earth was ready for cultivation all the participants got busy planting their plots with their desired crops! The youth in TPYG and other family members of the participants helped each other with the planting of their individual plots and that was a beautiful sight of true community collaboration toward a common goal.
After being planted up, bringing to water to their plot was the next step! This encouraged civic engagement as TPYG participants had to go into the Governors Administrative office to sign up for the use of community irrigation water. The Taos Pueblo Governors staff was excited to hear about young community members engaged in agriculture and more than happy to accommodate our water needs!
With permission to use our ancient open water irrigation system, TPYG youth then had plenty of ditch digging to do in order to get the water to their crops! Thankfully TPYG was also able to provide its participants with the tools to properly establish and maintain their crops! Each participant received a shovel, rake, pitchfork, and weed hoe which enabled them to perform any work necessary for the health of their crops and land!
TPYG collaborates with a variety of other Non Profit Programs and NGOs in order to source free labor for the young growers and their fields as we all know what it takes to grow organically, ALOT of work hours! I have include a picture of one of these volunteer groups from the Global Youth Leadership Institute!
Now that the installations have been complete, everyone is planted up with water flowing in their fields! Now to just make sure to water and weed! I have included a couple pictures of Daniel and Smoke in front of their fields. I am especially proud of Smoke as he has one one of the largest fields and he is only 15!
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