Hoopa Student Wins Research Award

Robert Baldy holds up his certificate and award after the Science Fair dinner in Hoopa on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. /Photo by Kristan Korns, Two Rivers Tribune

By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune

Hoopa Elementary School Student Robert Baldy spent his summer researching how much food a family garden could produce. His carefully recorded results will be used by the Klamath-Trinity Resource Conservation District (KTRCD).

Rhoby Cook, the district coordinator for the KTRCD, said the student’s work was well done.

“I was really impressed when I looked in his notebook and saw the amount of detail. Cucumber number one, cucumber number two,” Cook said. “He approached it like a scientist.”

Baldy counted, weighed, and wrote down the details about every one of the 3,148 vegetables, including 1,000 cherry tomatoes, produced by the family garden over the summer.

“You can see from the results of his research that the garden put out a significant amount of food,” Cook said.

The final tally was 450 pounds of vegetables, with a fair market value of $1,225, grown in a 40 foot by 50 foot garden in the family’s yard.

The experiment shows that families in the Hoopa Valley could grow a large amount of food in small gardens with a small investment.

The Baldy family paid $165 to set up the garden, including the cost of chicken wire fencing, seeds, seedlings, and gasoline for the rototiller to dig up the ground before planting.

“What he’s shown is your backyard garden is a proven economic generator,” Cook said. “If 100 families grow $1,000 worth of food, that’s $100,000 of agriculture right there.”

Cook said that tribal members who grew over $1000 of crops per year could qualify for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) farming grants. Families who grew more food than they can eat themselves could sell vegetables to the Veggie Club.

Cook awarded Robert Baldy a special Certificate of Appreciation and a Samsung tablet computer after the Science Fair Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 28, for all of his hard work.

Meagen Baldy, the student’s mother, said, “I’m really proud of him. He did a lot of work.”

Robert Baldy was surprised by the special award and said, “I’m going to hang this in my room. I really appreciate what you guys gave me, and I really liked doing all the work.”

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