By Rosie C., Assistant Crew Leader 2-22
Graduate, Fort Defiance High School

I’m Rosie, a recent graduate from FDHS and the YLA Crew Leader at Project GROWS this year. I heard about Project GROWS about seven years ago when I attended a homeschool field trip there. I loved the farm then and still do now after my second summer as a Youth Leader in Agriculture.

Last summer, while learning sustainable farming techniques, my interest in agriculture began to develop. As a Crew Leader for the summer of 2022, I built on my knowledge from last year by continuing hands-on learning in the fields and working alongside such knowledgeable staff like Brynn and Robert who instructed me on many of the efficient and sustainable farming techniques we use at Project GROWS. 

One of the sustainable farming techniques I learned this year is how to build plant immune function in our crops so our plants better resist disease and pest damage. Keeping the soil healthy by applying compost and alfalfa meal is one way to do this. Another way is by inoculating the soil in transplants with endomycorrhizal inoculant to encourage beneficial fungal growth before putting the plants into the ground. 

Throughout both my summers at Project GROWS, I have learned to be mindful of problems within the food system like agricultural pollution and lack of equal access to healthy food. I also explored solutions to those problems and others, such as using farming practices with no pesticides or other harmful chemicals, selling healthy food at affordable prices, and teaching youth how to grow their own food.