Reducing hunger in New Mexico one garden at a time!
2022 Year-End Report
On behalf of Seed2Need, we thank you for the financial support you provided to help us grow fresh produce for the families in our community suffering from food insecurity. We are sending you this year-end report to let you know what went well, what didn’t go so well, and our plans for 2023.
An early spring planting of broccoli and cabbage got us off to a good start this year. Next came our primary crops: tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and green chile; along with our secondary crops of cantaloupe, eggplant, and various types of peppers including bell, shishito, and jalapenos. Due to an unfortunate late freeze, there was very little local fruit to harvest and our own orchards were no exception. Our vegetable crops were quite successful though, and all produce grown was donated to these five food pantries in Sandoval and Bernalillo Counties:
- St. Felix Pantry
- Casa Rosa Food Pantry
- The Storehouse
- Rio Grande Food Project
- St. John’s Episcopal Food Pantry
Our total 2022 harvest was 34,342 pounds of produce–almost entirely vegetables.
- A Leadership Team comprised of seven veteran Seed2Need volunteers took over many Seed2Need operational tasks to begin the transition from Penny and Sandy Davis’ ownership of the project. Penny and Sandy assumed more of a mentor/volunteer role rather than serving as sole project leads. The Leadership Team successfully tackled the tasks that Penny and Sandy had previously done almost single-handedly.
- In 2022, volunteers contributed over 5,646 hours helping Seed2Need prune fruit trees, transplant seedlings, prepare and maintain the gardens, plant seedlings, harvest vegetables and fruit, and clean up the gardens at the end of the season. We could not continue a project like this without contributions from business organizations and help from our dedicated community volunteers.
- We have a new Farm Manager this year. He is a hardworking self-starter who is skilled when it comes to keeping our tractor and other equipment running; and he has a green thumb! We are so excited that he will be returning next year.
- A string of unusually hot spring days caused the cold frame to overheat. As a result, we lost a significant number of our tomato and chile starter plants. Several Leadership Team members did an amazing job of soliciting replacement seedlings from local businesses, local Master Gardeners, and Seed2Need volunteers. In 2023, we are addressing this problem by moving the cold frame to a shadier location.
- As in 2021, a low chile germination rate was a problem (less than 40%). To address this issue, Seed2Need compensated by starting triple the required chile plants. As a result, we had plenty of chile seedlings which grew into a beautiful and abundant crop. We plan to address this problem in 2023 by purchasing chile seed from a different supplier and/or considering a different cultivar.
- We have identified a need to add additional members to the Leadership Team. Besides expanding the skill set, knowledge, and diversity of the group, there is a practical benefit such as giving Leadership Team members time off when needed. We are actively soliciting additional Leadership Team members.
- The Leadership Team recognized the need to offer flexibility in the timing of work sessions to accommodate those who work a standard 8-5 schedule. Our normal work sessions are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. By adding occasional evening sessions, it gives those who work during the day the option to help in the evening and provides a venue where organizations can do “team-building” events with their employees.
- A late freeze resulted in a smaller than normal fruit harvest this year. We are hopeful that 2023 will not have such an impactful late freeze and that the trees will produce abundant fruit once again.
2023 Summary Recommendations
- Move the cold frame to a more protected area
- Seek guidance on better chile germination techniques and/or continue to look for more reliable cultivars
- Secure additional leadership team members
- Schedule regular evening work sessions
Thank you again for helping Seed2Need provide fresh produce to needy families in our community. The maxim “It takes a village” could not have been more apt for the 2022 season. Without the support of our community, we would not have been as successful this year. Together, we are making a difference.
Board of Directors and Leadership Team