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Gardening with Kin Dah Lichi’i Olta’

By Hanna Kherzai

WINDOW ROCK, AZ. - COPE's Food Access Team spent Thursday morning fixing up a garden with the Kin Dah Lichi’i Olta’ FACE (Family and Child Education) Program, a Head Start in Window Rock, AZ. Layncon Hubbard, FACE Program Parent Educator at Kin Dah Lichi’i Olta’, has been using COPE’s “Happy Homes” curriculum in working with parents and their children (prenatal - 3 years old) to promote healthy living lifestyles. COPE’s Training and Outreach team works with local partners like Layncon to implement curriculum that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and traditional Diné foods in daily diets, focusing on mothers and children.

The new garden is the latest project Layncon has been able to start at her school. Previously, she used training materials from COPE to implement a Healthy Eating calendar.

“[The calendar is] an ongoing thing,” Layncon says, “Every visit that we have, [I ask] how is your eating coming along? How is your sleep coming along? [The parents] really like that it’s something different.”

They have also had a planting workshop where families learned to grow radishes with their children.

Kin Dah Lichi’i Olta’ started their partnership with COPE only a few months ago, in March 2019. About their progress so far, Layncon says “I’m honestly very glad that we’re working together because they’ve done stuff to add into our family circle so it involved our parents a lot more… I really like what [COPE] offers because it helps me out a lot.”

The new garden pairs well with lessons Layncon teaches the parents. They will be growing many of the foods they’ve discussed, including a few traditional Diné plants. In the future, Layncon hopes to use the garden to implement more lessons, teaching math and the growing cycle by observing the plants over time and continuing to involve parents in their children's healthy eating habits.


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