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FOCUS: Los Alamos Youth Food Project - LAYFP

Former Los Alamos Middle School 8th grade teacher Stephanie Krantz  spearheaded a community garden project that is designed to be driven by the youth of Los Alamos. 

Stephanie's "seed" for the project came from the book, "Seedfolks" by Paul Fleischman.

In Seedfolks, a young Vietnamese-American girl plants a few lima bean seeds in a garbage infested vacant lot in memory of her father. Soon others discover her garden and begin to lend a hand. The garden becomes a place to meet others, to heal old wounds and to expand understanding beyond one's own culture. A supportive community develops around the garden with a spirt of discovery and inventiveness.

The LAYFP project's key goal is to develop a community garden adjacent to the Los Alamos Middle School near the new Solar Array and KRSN AM 1490 antenna. The garden will be available to K-12 LA Public School students, to community organizations and to individuals. Other garden locations may be developed as well, including a greenhouse at the Los Alamos Cooperative Market. Students will learn a wide variety of skills by participating in the project, such as biology, environmental studies, communications, marketing, social networking, project planning, engineering and much more.

Although the project is being led, in large measure, by area youth, it is intended to be multi-generational project in nature. Adults are encouraged to get involved. Teens and adults will work together to create a sustainable, local, community based food system.

From to LAYFP blog: The project will provide access to quality, affordable food for LAPS students and low-income households throughout Los Alamos County. The project will impact the entire LAPS school district by providing teachers and students with an opportunity for hands-on service learning activities designed to engage them in personal and social change through sustainable agriculture. Participants will receive: 1) an introduction to sustainable, organic gardening; 2) information about nutrition to assist them in developing an appetite for healthy foods; 3) education about the social, environmental and economic aspects of agriculture and food systems; 4) leadership skills necessary to prepare and deliver community presentations, develop and conduct a public outreach campaign; 5) skills necessary to mentor other students; and 6) increased skill levels in reading, language, writing and mathematics.

The project is supported by a $62,300 service learning grant for a youth-led environmental responsibility project provided by the State Farm Youth Advisory Board.

Right: Kaya and Myella Krantz getting ready to plant seeds at the Los Alamos Cooperative Market. Photo by Greg Kendall/

From the State Farm website: The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of 30 youth, ages 17-20, who were chosen through a competitive process to lead and oversee a $5 million/year signature service-learning initiative. The Youth Board identified the issues, issued competitive grants and will now provide technical assistance, communication and oversight to site grantees.

The Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board [JJAB] submitted the grant application to the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, and is overseeing the grant's financial administration. Local State Farm Agent Lou Santoro was instrumental in helping to structure the grant and provided guidance through the State Farm Youth Advisory Board selection process.  The LAYFP is grateful to Los Alamos State Farm Agents Lou Santoro and Sue Hofmann for their tremendous support in this effort.

On Sept. 16, LAMS teacher Stephanie Krantz was presented with the grant money by State Farm Public Affairs Specialist Tamara Pachl on school grounds.

JJAB has contracted with The Los Alamos Family YMCA to manage the grant project work. Sylvan Argo, the Y's Adventure Director leads the projects efforts as it's managing coordinator.

The Los Alamos Public Schools Board of Education has recently approved a Memorandum of Agreement with The Family YMCA that allows LAPS Middle School property to be used by the project for a community garden. The MOA clears the way for work to begin on building a green house, raised planting beds and an irrigation system. Creative solutions for irrigation are needed.

K-Kids from Barranca Mesa Elementary School with progress growing seedlings for the Los Alamos Youth Food Project. Kiwanis is the sponsor of K-Kids. Photo by Don Casperson/Kiwanis K-Kids Adult Mentor.

As the project progresses, there will be many work days at the LA Middle School community garden site. Volunteers will be greatly needed. Check the LAYFP Blog and Facebook page for work days and more information. The project will need many donated supplies and materials. See the FAQs below for more information on requested materials and donations.

Monetary donations are being accepted for the project. Drop off your donation at the Family YMCA (attn: LAYFP).

Listen to the Middle School KRSN Radio AD: RADIO AD

Click the following link to see photos from the State Farm grant presentation held Sept. 16, 2011.   STATE FARM GRANT PRESENTATION.

Click the following link to see a slideshow of the community garden ground breaking work party:  GROUND BREAKING WORK PARTY.

Click the following link to see the State Farm Youth Advisory Board - Los Alamos Youth Food Project Webpage: STATE FARM - LAYFP.

LAYFP Sponsor Logos:

Watch the LA Youth Food Project's first commercial featuring the fabulous Middle School Green Team at their first pep rally and at the Ground-Breaking work party:


Check out the great radio ad about the LA Youth Food Project made by the middle school service learning class.


View the Los Alamos Middle School Rally (November 2011) that helped kick off the project:



What material and equipment donations are needed?

The project needs (any ideas, expertise, materials, etc to contribute) :

  • Bags of Leaves, mulch, fertilizer.
  • Long flexible PVC pipe to build "hoop" greenhouses. See a hoop house design HERE.
  • Plywood / lumber: 1x1, 1x4 and 1x8 etc. type planks to make the sides of planter bed frames.
  • Rototiller equipment to borrow.
  • Gardening tools: hand shovels, shovels, gloves, rakes, hoes, etc.
  • Rocks both big and small for lining planting areas.
  • Water rain barrels. A cistern. There currently is no source of water for the garden. This is one of the biggest issues.
  • Water filtration equipment.
  • Locations to store seeds and starter plans. Do you have space in your greenhouse that the project can use?
  • Exterior paints and painting supplies
  • Ffencing ideas for the garden. 
  • Other items to help a community garden.

You can drop items off at the Los Alamos Middle School Community Garden site. Map to LAMS. Map to garden and drop off area.  If you draw a line between the Solar Array and the KRSN Antenna, the garden is two the Southwest of that line. You will note the new soil and card board in the dirt. On that line you will see the drop off area where there is currrently a couple window boxes and a pile of manure from the stables.

Contact Los Alamos Middle School Teacher Stephanie Krantz for details on what is needed / where to drop off / volunteer needs. Phone 505-663-2393. Email



Who are the sponsors and collaborators of the LAYFP?

State Farm Insurance (Sue Hofmann and Lou Santoro) , Juvenile Justice Advisory Board [JJAB], The Family YMCA (Sylvan Argo - Adventure Programs Director), The Los Alamos Cooperative Market (Sandra West - Outreach Coordinator), Pajarito Environmental Education Center [PEEC], The Youth Mobilizers, Kiwanis (K-Kids, Builders Club, Key Club), LA Middle School, LA High School, LA Public Schools, Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, Ecolutions LLC, Bernadette Lauritzen of Assets in Action, Greg Kendall of the Los Alamos Daily Post,  Private Donors and more.


What are some of the future plans of the LA Food Project?

Some of the future plans for the project include:

  • Finding a permanent solution for supplying water to the LAMS Community Garden [CG] site.
  • Grading and leveling the LAMS CG site.
  • Constructing planter boxes at the LAMS CG Site.
  • Constructing plant starter containers at the LAMS CG Site.
  • Constructing a fense around the LAMS CG site.
  • Making the LAMS CG ADA acccessable with a parking spot and paths.
  • Constructing a restroom on the LAMS CG site.
  • Constructing simple "hoop" greenhouse structures at LAMS CG and at the Los Alamos Cooperative Market.
  • Constructing a greenhouse on the LAMS CG site.

There is lots of fun and educational work to be done and many supplies and volunteers are needed by the project!

LAYFP - Daily Post News Stories

Community Invited to Name YMCA Community Garden

on February 2, 2014 - 7:01am

YMCA News:

The Family YMCA is starting a community garden on a plot of county land on North Mesa. This will be a not-for-profit, educational garden that will be open to the entire community. 

The Y is excited to be the steward of this plot of land, which will be an opportunity to bring the individuals, families, organizations, and businesses of the community together through the educational and enriching experience of gardening.  

This garden is currently in its very beginning development and planning stages.

Hoop-House Raising Celebrates Community Garden Funded by State Farm

on October 24, 2012 - 11:15am

From left, Pat Santoro, local State Farm Agent Lou Santoro, the State Farm Good Neigh Bear and local State Farm Office Manager Marcella Martinez hold a check for $96,250 to present to the Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB) in support of an educational and outreach community garden in Los Alamos. Photo by Greg Kendall/

By Greg Kendall

A small “barn-raising” was held on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Los Alamos Cooperative Market, in conjunction with a national State Farm Youth Advisory Board grant award presentation.

Youth and adult volunteers were invited to

State Farm Awards $96,250 Grant to Local JJAB

on October 16, 2012 - 5:10pm


The National State Farm Youth Advisory Board awarded a $96,250 grant to the Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB) in support of an educational and outreach community garden.

JJAB has contracted with The Family YMCA to deliver the grant’s education and food-assistance objectives throughout the next year.

A small “barn-raising” is set for 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Los Alamos Cooperative Market, 95 Entrada Dr., in conjunction with the State Farm Youth Advisory Board grant award presentation.

Youth and adult volunteers are welcome to assist with the

Los Alamos Youth Food Project Plows Forward

on May 9, 2012 - 8:38am

A major milestone in the development of a community garden by the Los Alamos Youth Food Project has been accomplished. The garden's field at the Los Alamos Middle School has been leveled. Good fill dirt is being added. Leveling is a key step that is necessary before planter boxes can be built. To find out more about the Los Alamos Youth Food Project, check out our special Focus section.

A plow levels the Los Alamos Youth Food Project garden field at the Los Alamos Middle School. Photo by Greg Kendall/

Los Alamos Youth Food Project - Flash Mob Practice

on May 1, 2012 - 5:08pm

Watch as the Los Alamos Middle School Green Team practices an original song they plan to perform as a "flash mob."  When and where will the flash mob occur? So far it's a big surprise.

See the Los Alamos Daily Post "Focus - Los Alamos Youth Food Project" special section for more information on the Project and it's goals.