Northern Youth Project Summer Fieldtrip Connects Communities
The Northern Youth Project, located in Abiquiu began as a way to involve teens in positive extracurricular activities in an area with limited programing for their age group. It all started one summer as Leona Hilary and a handful of teens including current staff member Anastacia Maestas started a garden on land managed by the Tres Semillas Foundation. Seven years later the program consists of art and agriculture programing that includes paid teen interns that maintain the garden, continuing the knowledge and traditions of agriculture in the area as well as encouraging healthy eating habits with cooking classes.
The Northern Youth Project recently took the teens to Taos to visit the Sol Feliz Farm run by Miguel and Margarita Santistevan. The teens learned about traditional crops, wild foods, and medicinal plants as they toured the farm munching on crab apples and alverjon. Water catchment and preservation, as well as innovative ways of storing heat and extending the season sparked their imaginations. After dancing on a gunnysack full of dried beans and winnowing the chaff, each teen took home a handful of purple green bean seeds to plan in their gardens next year. As well as inspiration to continue the positive aspects of our agriculturally based ancestors.
Vincent, Destiny, Marcos, Briana, Ariana listening to Miguel explain the herb spiral. (courtesy photo)
After bidding farewell to the Santistevan family, the group headed to the Red Willow Farm at Taos Pueblo to check out the farmers market. The farm bean as a way to continue the agri-culture of the Pueblo, and combines traditional methods and modern innovations like solar powered freezers, and biofuel heated greenhouses to extend the growing season in high elevation. Farm manager Hillary Duran and teen interns gave us a tour, and offered us freshly picked tomatoes from their greenhouses.
Rannon, Raymond, James talking to Ariana and Destiny at Red Willow Farm (courtesy photo)
The experience broadened the teen’s horizons as well as gave them the opportunity to meet fellow Earth Warriors in the fight to heal Mother Earth, and reclaim our connection to the land and our food. The Northern Youth Project hopes to be able to host some Taoseños soon at our Abiquiu garden. Until then they will return to their work in the garden, refreshed and inspired.
For more information about the Northern Youth Project’s mission, or ways of collaborating, contact them at:
PO Box 1332 Abiquiu, NM 87510