Trip to Puerto Rico

Our postsecondary Service Learning Team met monthly in 22-23 to learn more about gardening and composting and give back to our community. In August, all of this hard work culminated in a Service Learning Trip to Puerto Rico, where four very dedicated students spent several days working on a cacao and coffee farm and learning more about organic gardening practices in the tropics. The team raised money for the trip by organizing a fundraiser that included mini-workshops, a silent auction, homemade food from the garden, and more.
The group left for PR on August 7th, camped for four nights, worked on two different farms, and returned on the 11th. In between shifts in the hot sun, the group decompressed by swimming in the ocean, cooking together, and visiting a local arts fair. It was especially rewarding for students who did the same trip last year to be able to revisit the coffee trees they planted last year and see the impact of their work a year later. The group marveled at the lush forest and biodiversity of the mountainside they were farming and reflected on how that was only possible because of the organic farming practices in place there.
One student said, "My biggest takeaway was the way Jeff ran his farm and what he was doing to make sure the soil is good for generations." At the second farm, the team learned about water rights and management while sitting in the river that nourished the farm. Of that farm, another student commented, "I liked Talia's energy and how she was helping us. I really liked her lunch, it was really good! I also liked how we were able to talk to her and learn more about her goals and the location we were in." Overall, it was interesting to see how composting and gardening practices that are implemented in Mile High 360's own backyard can still apply even in another climate and country and on a much larger scale. The whole group agreed they had a much bigger appreciation for how food is grown and the steps it takes to get from the farms to our tables.