Meet Our New Executive Director: Gretchen Rank
Gretchen Rank was born in South Carolina and spent her early childhood years in Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. During those years she developed a love for people of diverse cultures and recognized the need for nutrition education worldwide. Gretchen moved to Summit Ridge with her family in 2004. She and her husband enjoy gardening and raising poultry on their land when they aren’t spending time in the outdoors birding and backpacking. Maintaining 35 acres of dry land hay has helped Gretchen appreciate water and soil conservation techniques and the importance of noxious weed control. She has been actively involved with educating her two children, as well as teaching a variety of cooperative lessons in a classroom setting. This experience helped Gretchen understand the benefit of experiential education first-hand, and the importance of providing learning opportunities for students in the outdoors. In addition, Gretchen has twenty-five years of experience in financial administration and office management for a variety of businesses, non-profits, and government entities. She loves the diverse public lands and agricultural heritage of southwest Colorado, and is grateful for the people who live here. Gretchen is excited about her new role as Executive Director for the Mancos Conservation District and the Montezuma School to Farm Project, and we can't wait to see where she takes the program!
MONTEZUMA SCHOOL TO FARM PROJECT
is a program of the Mancos Conservation District in southwestern Colorado.
Since 2009, the project has focused on providing integrated, hands-on school garden classes in Montezuma County. What began with a farm field trip for 40 Mancos students has grown to incorporate five school garden programs, professional school garden coordinators, summer farm camp, youth farmers markets, and an apprentice program.
MSTFP has installed a 2+ acre school production area, heritage orchards, high tunnels, cold frames, vertical growing spaces, permaculture swales, wicking beds, adobe ovens, and numerous living examples of water and soil conservation across the schools in the county. Classes also utilize a green house, a biothermal heating system, an on-site beehive, and an aquaponics unit as garden learning spaces.