INTRODUCING “DESERET: THE HONEYBEE & PEOPLE’S GARDEN”
Hacienda Dominguez & Chelenzo Farms is proud to join the USDA’s “People’s Garden Initiative,” which originally launched in 2009. It’s named for the “People’s Department,” former President Abraham Lincoln’s nickname for USDA, which was established during his presidency in 1862.
People’s Gardens grow fresh, healthy food and support a resilient, local food system; teach people how to garden using sustainable practices; and nurture habitat for pollinators and wildlife, and greenspace for neighbors to gather and enjoy. People’s Gardens all:
Benefit the community by providing food, beautification, arts, wildlife habitat, education, green space, tree canopy, recreation, volunteer opportunities.
Are a collaborative effort involving neighbors, co-workers, food pantries, master gardeners, conservation districts, USDA agencies, veterans, youth organizations, seniors, faith-based groups, or others.
Incorporate sustainable practices such as rain barrels or micro-irrigation, composting, cover crops, pest management, bat houses or insect hotels, and/or native plants.
Educate the public about sustainable practices and the benefit of local food systems through signage, classes, events, outreach materials, websites, and youth field trips.
ABOUT OUR GARDENS
Deseret, The Honeybee Garden, at Chelenzo Farms is an integral part of our organization, which serves to educate about and promote the practice of sustainable, regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration. The garden provides weekly produce for our community of Cerrillos via our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and contributions to the local Green Grocer Market in Madrid.
Deseret began as a project by our first farm hands, Enzo Dominguez and Maddy Damato, who chose the name based on what the Mormon pioneers who migrated westward across the US proposed to call their land of “milk and honey,” the Salt Lake Valley near the Great Salt Lake in 1847 (then part of Mexico). In 1849 settlers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proposed that the “State of Deseret'' become part of the United States. Their suggested name was derived from the word for "honeybee" in the Book of Mormon and early members of The Church adopted the distinctive name as a way to focus on the communal and beneficial traits common to colonies of bees—industry, thrift, and cooperation.
Hence, likewise Chelenzo Farm’s Deseret is also a gathering place for many of our public workshops. The garden consists of ten raised beds that have produced more than 30 different varieties of organic herbs and vegetables, so far in its first year. Adjacent to the garden we also have a row of pomegranate trees and goji berry bushes. Much thanks and praise goes to our Director of Farm Operations, Nina Listro, and crew, for the development and maintenance of our gardens.
We also recently built a 33' geodesic grow dome that will serve as our greenhouse, where we can grow produce all year long. And we also have terraced gardens, that were initially planted with sorghum to serve as cover crop, but that we soon realized can serve as a great source of organic poultry feed.
In addition to the 2.5 acres of land that we have regenerated with cover crops and no irrigation via funding from the NMDA's Healthy Soil Program, we are planning to continue the expansion of our ecosystem restoration with the planting of succulents, native plants and pollinators, which will expand the variety of produce we offer, diversify food choices and promote the awareness of traditional indigenous crops, as well as offer more opportunities for community-based hands-on education.
Learn more about USDA assistance for urban farms and gardens: https://www.usda.gov/peoples-garden