Cultivating a Healthy Community: Students Volunteer at the Potawot Community Food Garden

Sunshine, a good meal, and community service were enjoyed by all willing to get their hands dirty this Cesar Chavez Day.

In collaboration with the Y.E.S. (Youth Educational Services) House’s Serve-a-thon and in honor of civil rights leader, Cesar Chavez, the Potawot Community Food Garden hosted students and community members to help pull weeds, cut thorny bushes, and learn some valuable lessons in gardening.

Ed Mata and Christine Griffin work for United Indian Health Services as the Potawot Garden’s Garden Production Specialists.

“All of the fresh produce goes to the United Indian Health Services”, Mata said.

Contained in three acres of land, the Potawot garden offers students a chance to work with a variety of fresh, organically grown produce and learn the various techniques involved in caring for them.

Much of the food produced goes to the many health and nutritional services that UIHS offers, such as the Diabetes Prevention Program, a bi-weekly produce stand, and donation of thousands of pounds of produce to the community annually.

In addition to providing service to the UIHS, the Y.E.S. House’s Serve-a-thon helps support the various programs at the Y.E.S. House.

“Our goal is to make anywhere $5,000-$7,000 to help keep volunteering affordable” Coordinator of the Y.E.S. House, Melea Smith said.

In order to participate, each volunteer needed to be screened and fingerprinted. Funds are to be allocated to help lower costs of volunteering and provide supplies for Y.E.S.

“Serve-a-thon has been held for decades on Cesar Chavez Day” Smith said. “In keeping with the spirit of giving back to the community, we want to support the amazing work done by the UIHS.”

The Potawot Community Food Garden holds community service hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and every first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next gathering is Saturday April 8, 2017.

At the Potawot Community Food Garden, students and community members came together to not only give back to the community but to honor the work of a civil rights leader who once said “The end of all knowledge should be service to others.”