Planting seeds of whole Airman concept with community garden

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, NM --

Air Commandos around Cannon have begun growing a community garden on base.

The community garden will serve as a center for individuals across Cannon to plant, grow and pick a variety of vegetables and fruit.

One of the Airmen who are helping develop the plot of land into a center for healthy food is Airman Genesis Gutierrez, 27th Special Operations Comptroller Squadron financial services technician.

“It’s been sort of a project of mine to work with improving this garden when I can,” Gutierrez said.

Outdoor Recreation officially opened the facility last April, and raffled off plots of the garden to community members. Gutierrez was one of those who was awarded a piece of the garden.

Since then, she’s taken the opportunity to make the garden about more than food.

“It’s important that we treat our bodies well with healthy food, but the garden can also bring the community together,” Gutierrez explained. “People can come together and help build the garden up, maintain it as a team and reap the benefits of the hard work. It’s a win-win situation.”

So far, the support for the garden has been great, according to Gutierrez.

“So many squadrons are involved here. I’ve also learned about so many different communities within just this base that are wanting to help as well. Honestly, it’s been a great networking experience.”

 After starting the community garden the Outdoor Recreation office has stayed in contact with everyone utilizing the garden to help make it a success. “It was a quality of life initiative to give people on base the chance to have a garden,” said John Underhill, Outdoor Recreation director. “It wasn’t a hard thing to do, and a lot of the work should be credited to the civil engineering Airmen who helped in the process.”

Underhill has been working at Cannon for over seven years, and says this idea was one of many he wants to see grow into something more.

“It was an inexpensive project to take care of. There are people who constantly go out there and are expanding [the gardens],” he said. “We have many ideas, but it’s about the community coming out to voice what they want. We want to help!”

For more information on the community garden or to submit ideas on quality of life at Cannon, call Outdoor Recreation at 575-784-2773.