THE GARDEN PROJECT OF SOUTHWEST COLORADO

One garden at a time

Durango, CO   |  www.thegardenprojectswcolorado.org

Mission

Since 1998 The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado has been growing a healthier community through the support and development of school and community garden programs that promote health and wellness, environmental stewardship, and a sustainable local food system. By bringing diverse populations together, we increase access to healthy and nutritious food, strengthen community relationships, and empower individuals with skills to increase self-sufficiency. The Garden Project carries out our mission by (1) helping schools and non-profit agencies create and/or enhance community and school garden programs, (2) providing the community with education and, (3) serving as a resource center and production organization of fresh, local produce.

Ruling year info

2005

Executive Director

Lexie Stetson-Lee

Main address

P.O. Box 4434

Durango, CO 81302 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-1682026

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (K01)

Garden Club, Horticultural Programs (C42)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Garden Project works to educate youth and adults about health and nutrition, self-sustainability, and gardening. We work to support a robust food infrastructure in our rural region, by building and maintaining school gardens and farm to school initiatives, community gardens and community connections with the beautification of city lots, as well as CSA delivery and pop up markets for those that identify as food insecure in our area.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Youth Gardening Programs

Our youth gardening programs include:
- After-school programs like Dirt Club & Garden Team
After school program feature a weekly theme such as, Be a Water Hero, Beneficial Insects, Plant Parts. These programs also include snacks, art activities and hands-on work in school gardens. Dirt Club broadened the age range of students who could participate during Spring 2016 with an extra after school program targeting older students (3rd - 5th grades) called Garden Team. Also new in spring 2016 was Garden Squad which targeted Miller Middle School students to work in their school garden.

- Farmer Days
Brought local Farmers into the schools to lead lessons with elementary school students.

- Garden Based Science Lessons
Lessons were offered to each grade (K - 5) at 9-R (7 elementary schools total), provided by a Garden Educator who came to classrooms, and cover Colorado Academic Science Standards that the 9-R science curriculum department identified as needing extra support.

- Garden to Cafeteria/Taste Tests
Give students the opportunity to taste and reflect on a vegetable. The goal is to connect students with food from the garden, and increase their likelihood of trying fresh fruits and veggies at home or at lunch.

- Junior Gardeners Summer Camp
A three-week summer camp where students work in the garden (harvesting, washing, weeding, sowing seeds), creating art projects, cooking, and working with guest presenters on topics like: cooking, uses of edible weeds, pollinators, composting, vermicomposting, and garden yoga.

Population(s) Served

he Manna Soup Kitchen Garden grows for meals at the soup kitchen which serves homeless and struggling families. Weekly workdays are organized throughout the season.

- Manna Market: Free Produce Stand
The goals of the Manna Market were to redirect fresh produce from the waste stream (stores, farms, gardens) and into the kitchens of food insecure families, help community members add more fruits and vegetables to their diet, and empower people to take charge of their health through diet and nutrition.

- Manna Culinary Arts Workshops
The goals of the Culinary Arts Workshops are to provide the Manna Culinary Arts Students with an introduction to "farm to table" and to enhance students' education with gardening and self-sufficiency skills.

In 2016 four workshops on the following topics were offered: Beginning Gardening and Plant Identification, Mushroom Foraging, Fermentation: Kimchi + Sauerkraut, Introduction to Canning.

Population(s) Served

We support community gardens with leader trainings, resources, workshops, and garden network benefits like discounts at nurseries!

For example, the Ohana Kuleana Community Garden, started in 2013, is intended to provide space to grow an abundance of healthy food for a diverse community, while also providing a place where people can gather to learn and share ideas or to relax in a peaceful and beautiful setting. Ohana Kuleana are Hawaiian terms that means "Community Responsibility: we all own each other's actions."

The garden is on a half-acre plot with over 12,000 square feet of growing space (4,500 sf berm surrounding the garden and 7,500 sf of plots). There are 45 plots available to be rented for the season (May-October)

Monthly workdays & potlucks bring garden members together to share in hard work, harvest, and laughter.

Workshops provide education on organic gardening methods for the whole community.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We aim to accomplish three main goals:
1) To educate youth and adults with hands-on, project-based STEM garden lessons;
2) To link those in our region to healthy, affordable, local produce, and;
3) To develop and distribute food to those in need.

We utilize in-class lessons, after-school time and summer sessions for educational activities with youth.
We run workshops and events for adults with our nonprofit partners in town.
We manage and maintain three showcase gardens in town, which include one community garden, a large school garden, and the garden at our local soup kitchen.
We link those in our community to healthy, local produce, via markets and events that reduce stigma and get produce into the hands of those who need it most.
We collaborate on events that encourage exercise, nutrition and overall health.

In the 20-year history of the Garden Project, we have served nearly 30,000 people. We have connected community members with volunteer projects and special team development days, garnering over 15,000 hours of volunteer time. We have supported the creation of over 22 gardens in La Plata County, decreasing food waste, supporting food production and food distribution.

Annually we reach over 5,700 participants, provide over 8,400 educational hours, benefit from 2,300 volunteer hours, and harvest over 4,200 pounds of produce. Next steps include moving towards a unified and robust food system in our area and connecting the dots on behalf of partner organizations, people and farmers.

Financials

THE GARDEN PROJECT OF SOUTHWEST COLORADO
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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THE GARDEN PROJECT OF SOUTHWEST COLORADO

Board of directors
as of 6/25/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Alyssa Murray

Conservation Legacy, Colorado Master Gardener

Term: 2016 - 2019


Board co-chair

Brittany Cupp

Mountain Motion Media, Colorado Master Gardener

Term: 2017 - 2020

Nora Stafford

Retired Durango school teacher, Colorado Master Gardener

Mike Kaiser

Keller Williams Realty

John Floyd

Lauren Savage

Fort Lewis College

Ellen Smith

Parent

Patsy Ford

Retired HR San Juan Basin Public Health, Colorado Master Gardener

June Russell

Public Accountant

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No