Members of the Loveland Youth Gardeners and the High Plains Environmental Center came together Thursday morning to bring some natural life to the developing Kinston neighborhood in a new garden.
The gardeners and environmental center, in partnership with Centerra and Mountain Cowboy Brewing located in Kinston, planted a series of small gardens on the east side of the Kinston hub in east Loveland, planting everything from tomatoes to onions to arugula and much more.
“It’s really important kids learn where our food comes from,” said Erica Wharton, program director for LYG.
Dawn Kirk, event coordinator for the youth gardeners, said that the planning happened over several months to try and get it just right. But, Thursday morning it all came to fruition as around a dozen youth gardeners brought out their shovels and spades to plant an array of vegetables in the glow of the early morning sun.
“It was just kismet,” she said.
The idea behind the garden was to serve several purposes, from a demonstration for the community to using the food that is grown for Mountain Cowboy, a coffee shop and bar that opened its second location in Loveland in late April.
Ron Yovich, owner of Mountain Cowboy, said the garden is a positive on several fronts.
“It’s a nice option to have fresh food coming into our kitchen, we will use as much of this as we can.” he said. “It’s a nice opportunity … for people to come out and see the whole (farm to table) process.”
Jim Tolstrup, executive director of the HPEC who designed the gardens and grew the plants, was out at the garden helping out the youth gardeners Thursday morning. He said the two organizations have had a long, positive connection of working to plant and encourage kids to learn about gardening and nature.
He added that the hope is that the garden will be a teaching tool for not only the kids but the whole Kinston neighborhood.
“Connecting with nature is so important for kids,” he said. “There’s so many life lessons you can learn working with plants.”
For the kids involved, the event was a cool way to help others by growing fresh food.
Ellie Coole, 14, said that she saw the activity as a cool change of pace for the gardening experience.
“I love helping people,” said 12-year-old Emma Wharton.
“I want everyone to appreciate this wonderful garden,” said 12-year-old Taylor Campbell.
For the adults that oversaw and helped, the event was another great way to get kids immersed not only in nature, but in the business of planting and growing one’s own food.
Erica Wharton said the gardening allowed the kids who came out to not only get outside and enjoy the sunshine, but learn more about different types of food.
“The best way to get kids to try new food is to grow it,” she said.
“I love there is this group of kids that are doing it seed to table,” Kirk said, adding the youth gardeners could come back with their family to get food and experience what they planted.
Ryan Abbott, interim executive director of the youth gardeners, said the planting was great for the kids to learn that there is more to gardening than just planting things, but that the food they plant can really go towards someone else.
“These kids can really see the whole process,” he said.
18th annual Loveland Garden and Art Tour returning Saturday
Residents looking to enjoy the art of gardening and support the Loveland Youth Gardeners can come out and enjoy the 18th annual Loveland Garden and Art Tour this weekend.
The tour, which serves as the primary fundraiser for the youth gardeners, will take place this year in the Lakes at Centerra Neighborhood, which the LYG website describes as an “award-winning multiuse neighborhood and certified Community Wildlife habitat.” It is also home to the High Plains Environmental Center, which has its main building in the neighborhood and oversees 275 acres of wetlands, open space and reservoirs.
According to the LYG website, the tour will celebrate “pollinator friendly spaces” featuring native habitats, conservative water practices and more.
The tour will also feature “art of the garden,” created by local artists, offering residents the chance to meet with creators and purchase from the artist.
The tour is scheduled to take place from 8 am to 2 pm Saturday. More information and tickets can be found at lovelandyouthgardeners.org. Tickets range in price from $25 to $80, depending on the ticket package purchased.