AMARILLO – Cal Farley’s and Xcel Energy will host a ribbon-cutting and ceremonial planting Monday at a hoop house funded by a grant from Xcel Energy. The ceremony will take place at 3:30 p.m. on the Boys Ranch campus.
The hoop house will extend the growing season in the campus community garden, said Susan Carter, vice president for development and marketing. Participants in the Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch organic gardening program hope to yield more produce in the coming year, thanks to the $8,000 grant, she said.
“Through our organic gardening program, Boys Ranch youth grow fruits and vegetables for use in our campus dining hall and grocery store,” Carter said. “This hoop house will allow our teens to safely spend more time in the garden during the summer months and help protect our garden from the elements.”
The hoop house project is the latest initiative of Cal Farley’s Community-as-Lab program, which connects Boys Ranch residents with vocational learning opportunities. Through CAL projects, youth explore the importance of renewable and nonrenewable resources. In addition to organic gardening, focus areas include solar and wind energy, recycling and range wildlife preservation. Each year, about 100 campus residents are involved in CAL projects, Carter said.
The Boys Ranch vocational program also teaches children age 14 and older the interview process and the responsibility of obtaining and maintaining a job. Students learn a variety of trades such as farm and ranch operations, general maintenance, customer service, custodial or food service and more.
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company operating in eight Western and Midwestern states. The company is committed to providing cost-effective, clean, responsible energy delivered with the highest standards for safety, reliability and responsiveness. Xcel Energy supports communities in four important focus areas: math and science education; environmental stewardship; job training, placement and creation; and access to arts and culture. In 2012, Xcel Energy invested $8 million in support of communities across its service territory.