CRMS Garden Program: 2021 Year in Review

by Heather McDermott

The CRMS Organic Garden was a busy place in 2021…check out some of the highlights below.

The Organic Garden Learning Program hosted Garden Service Crews during the Active Program starting in January of 2021. In the winter, crew students learned the basics of winter and early spring gardening. We studied, amended, and prepped the soil by adding compost and aeration in the greenhouses. We grew fast-growing sprouts as well as greens and radishes for the Bar Fork kitchen. We planted and cared for tiny seedlings for the plant sale.  We practiced taking cuttings from plants to clone them as well as digging up and dividing plants to sell at the plant sale.

In the spring I welcomed our summer Garden Crew! Maria joined as the garden assistant and Juna and Ellie joined us as our garden interns. During their time here, they received hands-on, practical knowledge of gardening and small farm food production from soil to seed to harvest. Additionally, throughout the summer I arranged several educational tours of farms around our region so that they can learn about different farming perspectives in their immersion summer. The Garden Crew also had the opportunity to learn about the intersection of Colorado Water Law and agriculture in our region.

In May, CRMS hosted a successful plant sale, selling nearly 8,000 organic plants for local gardens. We held a multi-week plant sale and experienced great support from members of the CRMS community and our region.

The Garden Crew and I grew a large number of cut flowers and created flower bouquets for graduation and special events through summer and fall.

From May through August we prepped, planted, and cultivated 4 acres of organically grown vegetables, herbs, perennials, berries, and fruit trees.

When students returned in August, the busy harvest time began and our Active program Garden Work Crews helped bring in the harvest from the fields. The Garden Crew with the help of student work crews and occasional volunteers grew approximately 18,720 pounds of produce for the Bar Fork Kitchen, filling our freezers and root cellars with organic produce to use throughout the school year.  With our hot summer, it was a banner year for tomatoes in which we grew a record-breaking 1000 pounds. It was also a great year for pumpkins and potatoes.

For All-School Work Day in September, CRMS secured a donation of over 100 trees and shrubs and planted them with student crews throughout campus. 30 students and 4 staff members helped with this monumental task! In addition, we hosted 16 students and 2 faculty members for All-School Work Day in the Garden for a huge Harvest Day of our Yukon Gold Potatoes and Leeks.

Due to our social distancing constraints, the CRMS Harvest Dinner became an outdoor community dinner. Delicious garden food was created and served by the kitchen staff. The menu included Red Beet Hummus with Curried Carrots and Pita Chips, Heirloom Tomato-Basil Soup, Artisan Rolls with Butter, Marinated Flank Steak, Braised Cabbage with Root Vegetables, Confit of Garlic and Black Garlic Vinaigrette and Carrot Cake.

In October, the student service crew created a Pumpkin Sale stand using the founder’s truck. Students helped harvest and shuttle all of the pumpkins (Over 3000 lbs!) to the front of the Bar Fork where we set up and decorated the truck with our multitudes of pumpkin varieties. We sold out in just a few weeks and raised over $1000. The students loved the project.

We continued to improve our community’s composting program. We composted 9,000 gallons of food waste from the Bar Fork, continued building healthy soils, conserved water with innovative farming techniques, and conserved resources with Solar Energy.

The CRMS Garden Program was featured in the latest Edible Aspen (Winter Issue) highlighting our robust and unique farm-to-school and garden learning program.

In addition to all of the work the garden does on-campus, we also contribute to the local community through food donations and education.

  • CRMS continued its relationship with LiftUp, our regional Food Bank, and Uproot Colorado, a local gleaning service. We donated approximately 2,000 pounds of fresh vegetables this year.
  • Waldorf School classes visited for a garden harvest experience activity in the fall.

Click here to view the totals of the garden harvest by crop.




Tags from the story

Community, Garden, Service, Wellness

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