McKibbin’s Scribblin’s: Green thumbs grow in Rifle |

McKibbin’s Scribblin’s: Green thumbs grow in Rifle

Mike McKibbin
McKibbin’s Scribblin’s
Mike McKibbin
Staff Photo |

Rifle will likely look a lot greener in a month or two, thanks to the hard work of two citizens groups who want to make fresh, healthy food available to the needy in our community.

Rifle Growing Community and Growing Food Forward have been building vegetable beds and planting seeds and sprouts at many locations between Rifle and Parachute, with several more planned. LiveWell Garfield County has also helped with grants to cover costs for many of their projects.

Here’s what’s probably a partial list the two groups and volunteers have worked on in recent weeks:

• Mancinelli’s Pizza beds;

• Colorado State Veterans Home planters and beds;

• the Abundance Garden at Grand Valley United Methodist Church in Parachute;

• the Grand Valley Student Health Center in Parachute, 10 large beds planted by students before the school years ended;

• around the Rifle Branch Library and upstairs patio, where there will be four children’s learning gardens;

• the Smoke Shop beds;

• talked with Garfield School District 16 about turning Bea Underwood Elementary School’s huge lawn into a farm-at-school in Battlement Mesa;

• working with Access Roaring Fork’s Boost Camps at Rifle Middle School this summer and first graders through middle school students two days a week for four weeks. They’ll be taught how to cook and/or prepare easy, tasty dishes from the food they grow, on and beyond all kinds of hands-on planting, gardening, seed saving and more.

Food harvests from all the gardens, planters and beds will be distributed to those in need among Rifle children on free or reduced school lunches.

A lot of kudos are due these two groups and the hard working volunteers who are making it happen. But, as with all local projects like this, there’s always more to do.

Kim Wille with Growing Food Forward sent me an email that read, in part:

“We need volunteers badly and for people in Rifle and the surrounding area to know what all is going on and that fresh organic produce will be getting into the hands of those in need in approximately a month. The needy need to know, as well as people who are curious and slowing up traffic at Mancinelli’s, yelling out their windows, asking us what we are doing.

“And there are such great opportunities for children and adults alike to learn all phases of gardening and eating healthy, on and beyond the exercise they’ll enjoy in the company of others.”

So here’s another chance to get involved and help make Rifle an even better community.

Work is scheduled at Mancinelli’s Pizza, 851 Railroad Ave. in Rifle, from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 12, and from 9 a.m. to Noon Saturday, June 14.

Volunteers will build self-wicking raised bed gardens at what’s being called Mancinelli’s Children’s Learning Gardens, right next to Railroad Avenue.

So if you want to help – you can work as long as you can and children are welcome – bring gloves, sunscreen, shovels, rakes and snacks. People familiar with and/or who have power tools are needed, too, especially screw guns and Skil saws.

For more information, call Andrea Matthews at (720) 473-2670.

I’m sure we’ll hear more about how these green and growing gardens are thriving through the summer.

A very welcome and appreciated addition to Rifle and other communities in these parts.

Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.

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