Guidestone is grateful for the opportunity to manage three gardens on Salida School District property: The Salida Middle School Garden, initiated by teachers Bryan Lamont and Samantha Bahn in 2010, the Longfellow Elementary School Garden, which was completed in the Spring of 2015, and the Community & School Farm on Holman Avenue.
Since 2012, the Community & School Farm has developed to include just under an acre of production area on Salida School District land that is home to an orchard, raised and in-ground beds, a tool shed, a poly-house, a moveable high tunnel greenhouse, and nineteen 150’ long production rows. The full 4-acre site is fenced for deer protection, and is ready for further expansion, to include a geodesic grow dome in late 2019. Over 5,000 lbs. of garden produce has been incorporated into district meals since the beginning of the program. Produce is also sold through local markets such as local restaurants, the Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center, and our fall Youth Farmers Market at the Boys & Girls Club, to help support the program.
Additionally, the farm is used as an outdoor classroom for many hands-on, experiential, environmental learning opportunities with the Salida School District and greater community.
We use sustainable and innovative agricultural practices and incorporate these skills and knowledge in our experiential education programs at the farm. These programs include: summer garden camps, Friday Enrichment programs, Salida School District field trips, and youth corps programs offered through Southwest Conservation Corps.
The energy, generosity, and collaboration from the community and partners make this garden program what it is. We are extremely grateful for the support, and are excited to watch the farm continue to develop. Together, we are building a healthy community!