Roadrunner & The Community Garden Together

A "Weed And Seed" Volunteer Talks to 5th Graders About Growing Seeds, Las Cruces, Photo Courtesy of Shelby Stuckel, April 2016

A “Weed And Seed” Volunteer Talks to 5th Graders About Growing Seeds, Las Cruces, Photo Courtesy of Shelby Stuckel, April 2016


As spring weather continues to build into New Mexico, we at Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico feel inspired to invite the communities we serve to help us grow fresh produce over the coming months. From Albuquerque to Las Cruces, Roadrunner team members are working with area schools and community health partners to cultivate herbs and vegetables in raised beds as part of our growing effort to “FEED, SEED, LEAD” across New Mexico!

Alongside our Las Cruces AmeriCorps member, Shelby Stuckel, Las Cruce’s Safe Haven Weed and Seed Garden is managed by the City of Las Cruces Government with the support of Joy O’Grosky, Sergio Marquez, Paige Sharp, and other volunteers. Earlier in April, Las Cruces students from MacArthur Elementary School and elsewhere assembled seed starting kits. They are planning to transfer them into garden beds which our Roadrunner Las Cruces staff & New Mexico State University (NMSU) Government Graduate Student Organization volunteers put together in March.

“Weed and Seed participants and adults partner with us during our quarterly food distributions to provide assistance to our community members,” Shelby said during a recent meeting. “We intend on hosting another workshop in the coming weeks to plant the kid’s seedlings. Later on in the summer we hope to use the harvested veggies for a nutrition demo.”


Completed Herb & Vegetable Raised Bed, Outside of Roadrunner's Healthy Foods Center, Albuquerque, Photo Courtesy of Melanie Bonds, April 2016

Completed Herb & Vegetable Raised Bed, Outside of Roadrunner’s Healthy Foods Center, Albuquerque, Photo Courtesy of Melanie Bonds, April 2016


Meanwhile, in Albuquerque, our resident AmeriCorps member, Melanie Bonds, felt motivated to install raised produce beds outside of our Healthy Foods Center (HFC) and at Hodgin Elementary School. Between April 14th and April 23rd, Melanie, Roadrunner Public Allies leader Colin Spooner, and other volunteers worked on laying out such beds.

“We do the community garden project since it is part of my job description as an AmeriCorps VISTA but also because it is a great way to engage the community, specifically children,” Melanie told us recently.  “It was funded through our the Programs budget (specifically SNAP) and we got soil from Soilutions (keeping it local).”

Melanie also noted some interesting differences between Hodgin Elementary’s and the HFC’s gardening sites.

“Since Hodgin already had raised beds that weren’t being used as well as a gardening club, they loved the idea of inviting us to prepare more thoroughly their beds.  For the HFC, it seemed beneficial to have one for this agency as well as it being easily accessible.”

Melanie also noted that at Hodgin Elementary, they planted summer squash varieties and radish varieties as well as sweet mint seedlings.  This was done with help from the gardening club at Hodgin.  Meanwhile, Melanie said that for the HFC community garden, they planted oregano seedlings (Greek and Hot Spicy varieties), as well as Cherry Belle Radishes.

“We are hoping to plant a third raised garden bed at the HFC with summer squash varieties,” Melanie added.  “All of this produce was chosen based on how long it takes to harvest, what is best to grow this time of year, based on the available sunlight, and what would be helpful to our clients.  We will develop educational materials once the crops are ready to harvest, to be handed out with all produce.”

Thanks to Melanie Bonds, Shelby Stuckel, our Roadrunner Programs Department, Soilutions, Albuquerque area schools, and Las Cruces area schools for making such work possible!

Thanks to everyone involved in the Albuquerque and Las Cruces communities for educating future generations about the value of healthy food AND helping us solve hunger across New Mexico!

Matthew “Matt” Young is the Communications Coordinator at Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico. To comment on this or other blog features, you can comment directly below; call Matthew at (505) 349-8845; or e-mail Matthew at 


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