Jennifer Dwyer launched the Albuquerque Chicken Coop Tour two years ago. Her idea was to connect people who raised chickens with people who wanted to know how to do it themselves. That first year, a handful of curious people visited around a half-dozen locations. By 2009 some of the visitors had become chicken ranchers, and new visitors numbered nearly a hundred.
Kids really take to food in a friendly way when they’ve seen it grow from beginning to lunch.
Van Note tells me about Zia Elementary’s afterschool club, in which kindergarten through fifth grade students grow a courtyard garden. The school hopes to expand the program up through seventh grade next year. In school programs, the harvests are small, but the rewards are huge. Van Note tells me about a student who protested when his mom came to pick him up from school: He wanted to continue working in the garden.
On a visit to East San José Elementary School, I see a garden planted in the shape of a gecko. I watch as Silva greets her fifth-grade class, quickly assigning tasks. Students set to watering and moving compost. All of the school’s students have dug, stacked paving stones, built compost and planted their bounty under Silva’s energetic supervision.
Klairwator has developed the community garden program at The Source where 20 families pay for garden shares and participate in tending the crops. The garden and its harvest are not strictly parceled out. Rather, families pick what they like as produce matures.
These are a few of the dozens of stops on this year’s self-guided, citywide tour taking place on Saturday, July 31, and Sunday, Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. A tour map and information will be available on July 30 at albuquerquecooptour.com. Walking and bike maps of tour stops in the Nob Hill area will also be available at the Nob Hill La Montañita Co-op (3500 Central SE) and at The Source (1111 Carlisle SE).
Albuquerque gardeners have until Labor Day to be a part of the first-ever competition. Winners of the Summer 2010 Edible Gardens Contest will be selected in 12 categories that prize both brains and beauty. To vote or find entrance information, visit 2012abqgardens.ning.com.