Eco Centro showcases gardening at open house

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Ariana Fuentes, Sinkin Eco Centro farm and garden manager, and Kristi Martinelli, Sinkin Eco Centro children education coordinator, organize plants in the green house south of Chance Jan. 17. Fuentes said Eco Centro will be planting edible and native plants in the new outdoor faculty and staff patio west of Loftin during Weeks of Welcome. Brianna Rodrigue

Students can volunteer at the center for community service hours.

By Travis Doyle

Ariana Fuentes, farm and garden coordinator of Sinkin Eco Center, showed off a variety of seedlings and demonstrated the variety of plants grown at the center for various partnerships and events at an open house Feb. 6.

Lettuce, spinach, and carrots are growing north of Sinkin Eco Centro. The garden was on display at a open house Feb. 6 during Weeks of Welcome. Travis Doyle

This event was a part of the spring 2019 Weeks of Welcome at this college.

She said the center grows, spinach, broccoli, various wild flowers and plants used to bring in pollinators.

The center is also growing a variety of plants for events, such as statices for Fiesta and marigolds for Day of the Dead.

The building is this college’s demonstration center that hosts workshops to promote sustainability and environmental awareness.

Fuentes discussed the center’s plans for this semester with an urban farming area and expanding the types of plants in the greenhouse between Chance Academic Center and the nursing and allied health complex

“A lot of our corn and tomatoes and things like that are going to go into the urban farm area,” she said. “And were also going to be working on campus putting in the community garden so it’ll have perennial herbs and flowers.”

Judith Verbits-Temple, partnership and programming coordinator, discussed the decline of pollinators and the variety of animals who pollinate plants.

Pollinator plants include cosmos, wild rose, apples, lavender, sage and oregano.

“I bet you’d be surprised at what some of these are; if we didn’t have honey bees we wouldn’t have apples, the midget fly creates chocolate, nutmeg is the birds and the bees,” she said.

She showed visitors a garden with various types of sustainability plants.

In the garden, there was also a compost display that showed how one can use worm castings, rich digested soil, as a natural fertilizer.

There was also a garden that used rotted wood boards to attract bacteria and fungi as a soil amendment.

Community program coordinator Dyhanara Rios said the center is working with this college to create community garden spaces to teach students how to garden and the importance of native plants.

“What’s cool about these that is that it’s not just flowers. It’s habitats for all kinds of pollinators; it’s food for us that eventually we can make into production spaces so that we can give that food to students and the education,” she said.

Statices, marigolds, broccoli, and spinach are on display at Eco Centr Feb. 6 2019. The plants are being used for event and partnerships. Travis Doyle

Engineering sophomore Nicholas Heldal toured the center after he found out about it through email.

“I really enjoyed the high-volume garden that they are putting out back. I wanted to see more about that and see how that progresses through the year and see what they’re doing with that,” he said.

Heldal said one of the things he liked about the event is that they were giving away seed packets to guests.

“I like the free seed bank, so I can come here and get all my stuff for the season,” he said.

Heldal said he plans to plant produce in his garden this semester so he can start making homemade salsa.

The center has community service opportunities for students.

For more information, contact the center at 210-486-0417.


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