In our ongoing effort to build local food systems, Victory Gardens develops partnerships with local businesses, schools, and other nonprofits. In 2020, we partnered with Chinook West School to build a vegetable garden at the TEENS Inc. facility in Nederland. Chinook West is a fully accredited school and the only contract school in Boulder Valley School District.
Outdoor Growing Infrastructure
With the help of students, we built a compost station, pollinator gardens, two hoop houses, and three raised beds to grow vegetables. Look for the raised beds and hoop houses on the north side of the building. The outside gardens will feature radishes, spinach, kale, garlic, and more.
Indoor Growing Space
We also built an indoor growing space, consisting of one shelving unit placed in front of a south-facing window and lit by a 350-watt grow lamp. After planting out several grow trays, we were surprised one day to discover that all the sprouts were missing. We realized that mice were eating the small plants, so we changed the arrangement of the shelves and covered the smallest plants with clear covers. Students also created hanging planters to thwart the pesky rodents. The shelf is now home to hundreds of small plants, including tomatoes, peppers, dill, cilantro, oregano, and more. These starters will eventually be re-planted into larger containers inside and some will be moved to the outside beds. Others will go home with the students, who are learning how to grow their own nutritious food.
What’s to come
In the coming year, we hope to double the growing capacity outside by constructing more raised beds. We also hope to create one or two paid positions for students to maintain the gardens through the growing season. We envision a permanent growing operation at TEENS Inc. that will be maintained and managed by students. If you would like to help in this effort to build local food security, invest in our local economy, and provide opportunities for our young people, consider making a donation on the Victory Gardens webpage (nedvictorygardens.org). Be sure to specify that it’s for the TEENS gardens.