This blog is well overdue. In the chaotic end of the semester and frantic start up of the EcoRanch activities, I never got around to writing our deepest appreciation for our two capstone groups that helped us out through the Spring semester. We had two groups of four students working to promote the mission and vision of the Flagstaff EcoRanch.
The first group, the Grant Research and Writing Team (Jordan Pynes [Team Lead], Andrew DePaoli, Addison Guevara, and Eleanor Krueger) were tasked with researching grants applicable to the EcoRanch’s mission. The group had to find 10 applicable grants and choose one from this list to apply for. This allowed them many opportunities to explore the grant writing process, promoted collaboration within the group, and offered opportunities to explore how the EcoRanch operates and functions. The group decided the best option, given their NAU deadlines, time constraints for the EcoRanch and its current goals, was to apply for a grant with APS for a greenhouse. The greenhouse would allow the EcoRanch to grow more starts and be more autonomous. We would have space to grow tomatoes and other warmer climate plants while extending our season. After this, students created a poster to present at the UGRAD Symposium at the end of the semester in The Dome. Unfortunately, we weren’t awarded the grant, but we are prepared to apply again in the future.
The second group, The Produce Production and Community Development Team (Greg Samaniego-Morris [Team Lead], Kaeli Frechette, Madison Corey, and Kelsey Morris) were tasked with increasing our community outreach. The group had to reach out to at least 10 businesses, organizations, or community groups in town to see if there were opportunities for collaboration, primarily in the area of donating/growing/selling food. The group had to choose 2 groups and identify a functional timeline, identify all stakeholders in the collaboration, identify each groups’ needs, explain how it would promote the mission of reach entity, and problem solve any potential issues/problems that could occur. From this project, we developed a new collaboration with The Toasted Owl.
The Toasted Owl and the Flagstaff EcoRanch are proud to collaborate in creating closed loop food systems here in Flagstaff. The Toasted Owl will be using some kale purchased from the Flagstaff EcoRanch. The EcoRanch kale is grown without synthetic additives right here in at the base of the San Francisco Peaks. The Flagstaff EcoRanch, in return collects approximately 300 lbs of pre consumer food waste each week from The Toasted Owl, to build compost, amend the raised beds, and to feed to chickens. Together, we are working to create a more local and secure food network.
At the end of the semester, the group also created a poster for the UGRAD Symposium. This group won first place for the best poster overall and each member received a $100 check! Congrats to you all!