Agricultural Program: Growing and Harvesting in the Desert

InstitutionsHolbrook Indian SchoolAgricultural Program: Growing and Harvesting in the Desert

By James Hunt, with Alyssa Williams


The main objective of the agricultural program is to supply healthy food to the students and staff and to teach the students how they can grow nutrient-dense food for their families in the future. Many of our students come from the Navajo reservation. As with many youth today, fast food and heavily processed food are the norm. Growing your own food is a lost skill, and health issues are on the rise. We restarted the farm several years ago because we believe it has wholistic benefits for every student. All that we do at HIS is under the umbrella of MAPS (mental, academic/artistic, physical, and spiritual wholeness). Studies show that getting your hands in the soil is restorative. Our desire is for our students to develop a love for a healthy lifestyle—and what better way than to get them working the land!This school year, we are teaching the students how to build a hoop house that will become a gardening class lab. This 50- by 20-foot hoop house will be equipped with benches to start plants for transplanting and to do experiments with plant growth. The students will be involved in the entire process, from bending the pipes to assembling the hoop house. We are also excited to introduce cooking classes as a part of the garden-to-plate program. Our assistant gardener, Richard Espinal, is an amazing cook who will be teaching the students how to make delicious food with the produce that they grow on the farm.
The agricultural program helps us witness not only to our students but also to our community. Seventy-two families in the surrounding area receive the weekly list of vegetables available for delivery. We have been gradually developing friendships with these people through produce deliveries. We believe God calls us to minister to all those around us, and the farm has been an excellent way to share the gospel. The agricultural program is thriving because of generous donors like you who continue to help us financially and who help provide upgraded equipment. We are thankful for those who support the mission of Holbrook Indian School.

Perhaps you have driven across the United States on Highway 40. If so, you would have passed through Holbrook, Arizona. Other than the Wigwam Motel off Route 66 and the Petrified National Forest, Holbrook does not attract many visitors. However, this high desert land is where Holbrook Indian School (HIS) is located. I have been working as the director of agriculture education at this amazing school for a few years now, growing healthy food for the students, staff, and community.

Holbrook Indian School (HIS) is a first- through twelfth-grade boarding academy operated by the Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. HIS also manages a first- through eighth-grade day school on the Navajo reservation in Chinle, Arizona. Eighty percent of funding comes from individuals who have a desire to support Native American ministries and Christian education. Your generosity makes a difference in the lives of our students, their families, and the communities they serve. Thank you for your support.


Development Department
P.O. Box 910
Holbrook, Arizona 86025-0910
(928) 524-6845 (Ext. 109)


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Agricultural Program: Growing and Harvesting in the Desert

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