Americorps VISTA Update

Meg Mercier: Americorps VISTA Project Coordinator

Upon my August arrival, I was immersed in a whirlwind of activity with the Farm Park. The end of summer brought harvest time. My introduction to the Farm Park site came not long before the farm plots were put to bed for the Winter.

The first project I worked on was the Nature Play Area. I coordinated with the contractors working on the project to ensure we would open on time. The grand opening event was an amazing success! Some 200 people from throughout the community attended, including a bus full of members of the Boys and Girls Club of the SLV. The band Sweet Radish graced us with live music, and the Moki provided fantastic food for all. Working with Bienstock Natural Playgrounds was a wonderful experience. I encourage community members to check out this amazing new feature at the Park; it is a truly unique space.

Children approach the newly-opened Nature Play Area after we marked the Grand Opening with an inaugural ribbon-cutting.

My focus is now shifting towards next year, specifically on engaging community members in our many opportunities.

One way you can participate at the Farm Park is at our monthly Saturday work day. These work days are when we pull together teams of people to help us complete our big projects! In 2020, we will be building a mobile chicken coop, installing two little free libraries as well as bat boxes, and continuing the difficult work of tending the land through planting, weeding, and care taking. Follow us on Facebook, or select “Volunteering at the Park” on our Mailing List signup form.

We’re looking for volunteers to “adopt” ongoing projects at the Park. These are the items that are constantly on our To-Do list; things like managing the asparagus patch, caring for the trees in our orchard, and making sure our gates are opened in the morning and closed in the evening. Lend a hand to this community project by signing up to keep tabs on a project that calls to you! Send me an email at to learn more and sign up.

With the new year, we’ll be putting huge efforts into fundraising for a greenhouse for the Farm Park. This building will provide a much needed stream of income for the Park. We plan on selling hydroponically-grown lettuce through the Valley Roots Food Hub once the greenhouse is built. We need your help to make this feature a reality! You can help our efforts by donating directly to our Greenhouse Fund or by hosting a fundraising house party in your home. See this graphic for more information on house parties:

I’m so thrilled to be a member of this team.
The Rio Grande Farm Park is an amazing community project.
Thank you all for making this a reality and taking part.

Truly: many hands make light work!