Community Agriculture Alliance: Keep learning alive in the summer months

Advertisement

As advanced as our logical thinking skills are, we can get caught up in “believing the hype.” Some of that hype — otherwise known as urban myth — may prevent us from doing, acting and engaging.

Community Agriculture Alliance

This weekly column about agriculture issues is written by area farmers, ranchers and policymakers. It publishes on Fridays in the Steamboat Today. Read more columns here.

Let us help you halt this destructive behavior while getting outside, doing some learning and getting your hands a little dirty. Yampatika and our community partners will bust a few myths for you through our "DIY Organic Gardening Series."

Myth 1: You can’t garden in the Yampa Valley.

Myth 2: Summer is strictly play time. There simply isn’t any room for learning.

At 6,770 feet, Steamboat Springs sees 46 frost-free days each year. Albeit a small window, it is large enough to grow healthy, organic produce. With a dash of knowledge and a pinch of know-how, you can feed your family locally grown produce from your own garden, or harvest your share by volunteering at Yampatika’s Environmental Learning Center at Legacy Ranch.

With four organic garden beds totaling more than 1,000 square feet, you'll be amazed at what can be grown. Add a 12-by-6 greenhouse, and next thing you know, you can feed 50 or more people a gourmet meal with produce to spare.

Did you know that Yampatika takes part in the People's Garden Initiative, which is an effort by the United States Department of Agriculture? The Initiative challenges its employees and partners to establish People’s Gardens at USDA facilities, or to help communities create gardens, like Yampatika's.

The local food movement has really taken hold in the Yampa Valley. And learning opportunities start now. Upcoming events include Talking Green's “Leveraging Waste” presentation by Brendan McCrann with Future Pointe on Jan. 28, sponsored by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and a fresh food webinar, “The Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund” held Feb. 4, sponsored by the city of Steamboat Springs.

If you are ready to learn more, join in on our DIY series for a single class, or partake in the whole lot. We want to teach you how to "do it yourself" and become successful at organic gardening. Topics will include composting, soil fertilizers, soil testing, wildcrafting, permaculture, planting techniques and strategies, pollinators and pesticides, noxious weeds/land use challenges, water harvesting, seed saving and food storage. From May through August, DIY classes will be led by local experts in our community, and there will be visits with local food producers.

School is never out, and summertime can be a great time to learn by doing — for youths and adults. It is never too early to start planning how you will explore your own natural environment, whether through gardening or joining Yampatika on one of our popular wildflower walks. For the kiddos, Yampatika’s Summer Camp Program provides children with the opportunity to participate in nature and science-based learning while having fun. We're on a roll, and it brings up another myth to bust:

Myth 3: I can't enroll my child in summer camp because the hours don't coincide with my work schedule.

Yampatika has listened, and because of high demand, we will be extending our camp hours in 2014. Now you don't have to juggle work with your child's summer experience.

Don't sit back and take our word for it, join in and help us bust multiple myths this summer.

Morgan Moss is the program coordinator for Yampatika. She can be reached at morgan@yampatika.org or 970-871-9151.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.