Rising Stewards 2022 Youth Program

Interested in becoming a Rising Steward this year?

In 2022 we will invite 6 high school students from the Valley to participate under the name Rising Stewards. The course will span from May 31st until August 18th. In learning from the past season we have amended the curriculum this year to support a greater diversity of subject matter. This multidisciplinary approach will encourage participants to consider the cross pollination required to thoughtfully and thoroughly steward land while growing vibrant foods and growing as individuals. 

This year’s subjects will be taught “block style” with the following components:

Growing Food Regeneratively

Photo via Christi Bode

Running throughout block instruction and the entire 12 weeks will be coursework on growing food in a no-till, regenerative plot. Participants will learn the basics about ecosystem observation, soil health, seeds, mulching, watering, and harvesting. Lessons will also emphasize the underpinning philosophical perspectives of this growing methodology.

History and Construction of Adobes and Hornos

Participants will work alongside community volunteers to construct a traditional southwest Horno oven and Adobe Wall that will encircle the Rio Grande Farm Park’s Education Center. Lessons will provide the culturally relevant, historical context of this technology and how it aided the survival of early Valley inhabitants.

Food Justice in the SLV

Participants will analyze the proliferation of food apartheid specifically in the San Luis Valley. They will interrogate the role of various systems in perpetuating this injustice as well as examine solutions and the steps that can be taken to accomplish true food sovereignty in our region.

Physics of Greenhouses

Rounding out our program will be a 4 week study into the world of physics using the Farm Park’s summer greenhouse build as a focal point. The year round, off-grid greenhouse, built by Cord Parmenter, will provide a vast number of  opportunities to learn about the science of season extension and eco-efficiency.

Picture via Penn and Cord’s Garden.

Program Background

The Junior Incubator Program was first piloted in the summer of 2021 in an effort to bring regenerative agricultural exposure and education to San Luis Valley high school students in a style of internship. The project was a collaboration between the Rio Grande Farm Park and the Boys and Girls Club. 

The 2021 program had 4 participants who spent a total of 12 weeks of the summer tending to their own farm plot. The program was modeled after the Farm Park’s Incubator Program, which provides beginning and/or socially disadvantaged farmers with 1/8 to 1 acre plots on which to farm, including additional resources for success.