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Volunteers Plant Milpa Garden in Woodstock

Published on
22 May 2024
Thank you to the many volunteers who helped prep and seed TLC’s Milpa garden at the Food Forest on May 21!
What is Milpa? Milpa is an Indigenous style of gardening in which species are selected for mutual benefits – attracting pollinators or predatory insects, providing shade, building soil structure, etc. Instead of planting in rows, a variety of seeds are sprinkled throughout the garden; the different species will help build soil health and fertility before planting shrubs and trees in the fall. The Milpa technique originated in Central America where the Maya used the three sisters: corn, squash, and beans alongside other native and cultivated plants to improve the soil and grow food in their forest gardens.
A special thank-you to Gina Roxas, Potawatomi and Executive Director of Trickster Cultural Center, who shared her wisdom about Indigenous gardening and practices, and guided us in preparing and planting the garden. Gina shared that she uses the “rule of thirds” when planting and harvesting a garden: a third for her neighbors (animals, insects and people), a third to save seed, and a third for herself. She also shared that many Indigenous people use deer antlers as a tool to work the soil. If you look closely in the photos, you can see some of our volunteers using antlers!
TLC will donate at least half of the garden’s produce to the Woodstock Food Pantry and other local organizations to help those in need in the community.
Learn more about TLC’s Food Forest.
Gretchen (TLC’s Food Forest Manager) discusses the garden and introduces Gina Roxas
Gina Roxas shares her wisdom
Colorful refreshments
Gretchen demonstrates how to use a broad fork
Seed packets personalized by Gretchen’s daughters!
All of the seed packets