Monday, September 24, 2012

South Valley Academy, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Students from the South Valley Academy, check out the drivers seat of the Seed Story Broadcasting Station van.

The day after the Machine Wilderness atmosphere of ISEA2012, Seed Broadcast slowly made its way down Isleta Boulevard, to the South Valley. This is the traditional agricultural area of Albuqueque, situated in the fertile bosque of the Rio Grande. We had been invited to the local high school, South Valley Academy. This Charter High School is a series of cream-colored porta-cabins, nestled in between huge, ancient cottonwoods, with a population of students from local New Mexican families and new immigrants from south of the border. Five years ago, Richard Brandt, a South Valley local, initiated Dragon Farms, on a piece of land adjacent to the school; to educate the students in local growing practices and healthy eating. Check out this wonderful community/school project at: http://www.southvalleyacademy.org/dragonfarm/

Garden beds at the South Valley Academy, Dragon Farms
 
The principal, Kata Sandoval had arranged for the science teachers to bring their students over to the mobile unti, although at one point a class of students arrived reading books, it was the reading class! We engaged the students in a dialogue around the importance of seed saving and guided them in numerous experiences, which included wheat pasting printed seeds on the outside of the mobile unit, accessing audio and video information via the technology set up inside the unit and sorting, packaging, and labeling seeds. Many of the students asked to take some of the seeds with them, as they had gardens at home. They loved the blue corn and creeping onions from Fodder Farm. We were told that their families, often grandparents, grew corn and squash and some had apple and peach trees. Many of the students talked of ranches that were left behind in Mexico.

Students check out the interior of the Broadcast Station, listen to seed stories, and note their own on the seed story board.

One of the teachers suggested that they take some of the seeds and plant them at the Dragon Farm site to record and keep track of how they grow. They also talked about starting their own seed library. We asked that they keep us updated on the progress. We hope to be able to visit again. Thank you to all the teachers, Kata Sandoval, and Richard Brandt for making this visit so informative.

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