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Hopi Head Start parents plant for the future

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POLACCA, Ariz. – Recognizing the need to continue the farming tradition of Hopi, and to create a beautiful school environment for Head Start families and the community, Polacca Head Start parents formed the Polacca Head Start Garden Project.

Hopi Head Start and Polacca Head Start Garden Project hosted a planting celebration May 2 which signified the beginning of the project. The kick-off event was a great success. There were Head Start kids, parents, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents and community members who joined the planting fun.

A stupendous amount of valuable heirloom Hopi seeds were donated by various community members, specifically one who donated enough to create Hopi Seed Kits for the children and staff. The seed kits contained blue corn, white corn, sweet corn, yellow watermelon, yellow lima beans and sunflower.

“Overall, the planting celebration was highly successful and the turnout was more than expected and it was just a great day to meet other individuals that care for the same cause in our community. I want to personally thank all those that contributed for making this day such a huge success” said Anthoney Dukepoo, project co-organizer.

The PHSGP was conceptualized by Anthoney and Cara Dukepoo, Polacca Head Start parents, while attending the Traditional Native American Farmers Association’s 2008 Traditional Agriculture/Permaculture Design Course in Espanola, N.M. During the course, Anthoney and Cara helped plant a bio-intensive garden and install a drip irrigation system at the Tesuque Pueblo Head Start Program. Empowered by this experience, the parents decided to take action and create the program.

“We presented the idea to the Head Start administration in October and received a pretty optimistic response from our first meeting with them” Anthoney said. “Later we got the interest of the parents, as well as some community members, who later donated generously.”

The Polacca Head Start Garden Project is comprised of students, teachers, parents and community members who come together to create a learning environment rooted in the principles of working in harmony with nature, while reinforcing the traditional values and customs of the community. The Polacca Head Start Garden Project is a pilot program for Hopi Head Start Program.