VEGI works to fight hunger by sowing the seeds of education, nutrition, and community through connection with gardening. Students and community members work together to learn more about gardening and provide fresh produce for local hunger relief efforts. Gardens throughout the SLV provide relief for overcoming food insecurity and its complications while encouraging healthy choices by connecting people with the beauty of gardening, from seed to harvest.
To fight hunger, we must begin to address the root causes. Hunger in the United States is fundamentally a nutritional issue, not a lack of calories. You can have chips and a soda for breakfast and you’ve had all the calories you need for the day, but you haven’t had any of the food you need to fuel your body and brain. We are proud to partner with the Food Bank Network by offering the fresh produce grown in our gardens. But in order to encourage community members to actually reach for the nutritious food, we seek to reconnect them to where their food comes from by educating them about gardening.
The Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (VEGI) provides educational opportunities to kids, adults, and families by teaching about gardening and nutrition while also producing healthy food to benefit the community. VEGI is a collaborative project among La Puente, local schools, area non-profits, and community members. Food grown in our gardens is distributed to the homeless shelter for meals, throughout the Food Bank Network, and to community members who are in need or who have lent a helping hand.
- Boyd Garden
Our neighborhood garden is located on the corner of 11th Street and State Avenue. This garden provides fresh produce for La Puente Home and the Food Bank Network, as well as to the community members who work hard to keep it growing.
- Alamosa Elementary Garden
This garden is located at 1709 W 10th Street. This installment provides hands-on curriculum-based garden lessons for children in grades K-5 at Alamosa Elementary each year.
- La Puente Home Grow Dome
This year-round garden provides fresh vegetables for meals at the homeless shelter and can be found behind our Outreach Services building.
VEGI is a collaborative organization of local schools, non-profits, and the community to provide hands-on education in schools and gardens across the Valley. We are a program of La Puente Home and work as a partner organization to the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley.
We currently provide classroom and garden-based lessons for K-5 students in Alamosa during the school year. In the summer, we offer Garden Camps and programs in Alamosa, Del Norte, and Blanca-Ft. Garland. Stay connected with us for updates, tips, events, and info on how you can get involved to help make community gardening a success in the Valley!
Garden Camp is a time for children to learn about food and where it comes from, and crafts are often included as part of the lesson. One of our crafts was to make harvest bags and fill them with food to take home. This particular day also happened to be one of our campers, Ruby’s, birthday! So in an effort to make her day special, I made an extra harvest bag for her. Instead of filling the bags with food for herself, Ruby filled them both with food for her little brother who was too young to participate in Garden Camp. Some kids truly remind us of how we should behave as citizens of the world. Helping others above ourselves is one of the best things anyone can learn to do.
Community Garden Nights are every Tuesday (May-October) at the Boyd Community Garden (11th and State in Alamosa) from 5-7pm. Boyd is a community food growing and sharing space, raising vegetables to donate to the Food Bank and to those who help with the garden.
Interested in starting your own garden? Garden-in-a-Box provides a family, building, or agency with the ability to grow a garden virtually anywhere. Participants are provided with a 4×8 raised garden box, and all the tools and seeds necessary for a bountiful garden.
Make a Donation
VEGI can always use your support. Donations of time, garden materials, and financial contributions are all greatly appreciated!
Teach a Lesson!
If you are passionate about gardening and would like to share your knowledge, please contact us about ways to get involved in our educational programming.
One of the easiest ways to get involved with the VEGI program is to adopt a bed! By adopting a bed you take responsibility for 1 of 20 beds in the Boyd Garden and help keep our garden productive and beautiful!
We can also always use helping hands for planting, weeding, watering, and maintenance.
If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities please contact the Volunteer Coordination Office at 719-587-3499.
The Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (VEGI) offers community gardening services and education-based programs in the San Luis Valley (SLV). VEGI’s mission is to teach people about growing and preparing nutritious food while also donating produce to benefit the Food Bank Network, local school cafeterias, and households. As a non-profit through La Puente Home, Inc., VEGI’s mission is made reality only because of the generous contributions made by foundations, private individuals, and partner programs.
La Puente is grateful to the Safeway Foundation for its recent award of $2,500 that will benefit VEGI’s 2017 programming. VEGI will use these funds to offer garden-based camps in Alamosa, in Del Norte through the High Valley Community Center (HVCC), and in the towns of Blanca-Ft. Garland. This grant will make possible the purchasing of curriculum materials needed to run dynamic summer programming that offers youth the chance to dig their hands in the soil, harvest what they have planted, and learn through community the process of growing and preparing healthful foods.
VEGI recognizes each of its supporters and is appreciative of the combined effort it takes to address the “root” causes of local food insecurity. Every dollar donated helps plant a seed that can then flourish into an educational opportunity, a gardening resource, or a fresh vegetable for someone in need. There are many ways to support VEGI- from lending a hand in the community garden to planting a seed with a child to offering financial donations, however, big or small- as it takes a community to raise a garden. VEGI is grateful for those who continue to make this work thrive and would like to acknowledge the spirit of giving that makes it all possible.