Seeding Scholarships – the Bowie Jardin & Mercado Fund
The Paso del Norte Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce that Bowie High School’s Oso Good Food Truck is almost ready to hit the streets! After three years of planning, planting and fundraising, the project is near completion and will soon be serving delicious offerings which will be sold to fund scholarships for deserving Bowie graduates with plans to attend college. The project began in 2013 when a group of students, faculty and community members met at the Bowie High School Cafeteria to envision a bountiful jardin, a culinary program and an actual mercado for students to learn how to create and market food-related products. What resulted was a strategic plan that would involve planting the garden, fundraising and the actual manufacturing of the food truck which is currently undergoing finishing touches.
In 2014 the Paso del Norte Health Foundation granted $100,000 to cover the initial startup costs of establishing the garden on the school’s grounds. The Bowie Jardin was designed by well-known El Paso architect, David Alvidrez. He designed a 21-vegetable bed, state of the art, drip-irrigated garden with 70 fruit trees and an outdoor classroom area for instruction. The garden was completed with volunteer help from Bowie students, alumni, members of Texas A&M Agricultural Extension Program, the El Paso Master Gardeners, Keep El Paso Beautiful and a battalion of 700 soldiers from Ft Bliss. Additionally, Home Depot, CEMEX, JOBE Inc, Tropicana Homes, and La Semilla Food Center donated expertise, equipment, labor, and training to make this first phase a reality.
By 2015 the garden was fully operational and the student jardineros had also become entrepreneurs as the Bowie Mercado established itself as a regular fixture at the El Paso Downtown Farmer’s Market. This along with providing produce for some local restaurants helped create a name for the project in the local food industry. Success sparked interest in embarking on a food vending enterprise and thus the idea for the Oso Good Food Truck was born.
The Charitable Foundation helped the students with fundraising for this endeavor and to date, over $51,000 has been raised in the form of grants and donations from corporate citizens like Whole Foods Market. The food truck has already been purchased, menus are being planned, and the smaller details related to the food truck’s operation are being ironed out.
The participating students have been on an amazing four-year journey, working hard to make the Oso Good Food Truck a reality. Though the food truck is not yet fully operational, in many ways, this project has already accomplished its main of mission educating the students about how to grow their own healthy food, creating a business plan and establishing an enterprise all the while learning how to cook and prepare nutritious meals. For the students of the Bowie High School Jardin and Mercado, these are lessons that will last a lifetime.
Scholarship applications are due on or around May 15th each year. For a copy of the scholarship application, please contact the counseling office at Bowie High School.
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