FARMINGTON — Young people will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday by planting seeds of good health and learning about sustainable gardening at the Boys & Girls Club of Farmington.

A full day of garden-themed lessons and games are planned. In the morning, members of the club will cook vegetables and learn recipes that promote healthy food choices and local produce.

The public is invited to attend Monday's event from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., when local food will be for sale by Three Rivers Pizzeria and other vendors.

Debbie Higgs, who organized the event, fundraises for the club on behalf of AmeriCorps, a national program that places workers with organizations that develop programs to alleviate poverty. Her one-year assignment pays her a poverty-level stipend, after which she will be awarded money for her education.

Higgs sees Monday's event as a bridge to raising awareness of sustainable practices that offer healthful inspiration and opportunities for the public.

"The kids and their families can create collages that represent "the best possible community' and get hands-on experience cooking vegetables and planting geraniums and all the vegetables that make salsa," Higgs said. The fruits of their labor will be sold to raise funds for the club.

Outside the club, Farmington's Tractor Supply Company will complete the picture with a display of tractors and other farm equipment.

At 1 p.m.


, Ranger Marie Clark from Aztec Ruins National Monument will give a talk on traditional Pueblo farming techniques.

"Part of my presentation will take a look at the modern Puebloan connection to ancestral practices," Clark said.

But Monday's event isn't all the club has planned to spur interest and energy toward sustainability.

The club is working with the Parks Department to install a community garden on a modest plot of city land behind the club's gym. A community garden that offered small plots for low-income families to grow their own produce at Navajo Prep in recent years saw little interest, but the 23-year-old believes a garden at the club has promise.

Roger Drayer, a landscape architect for the department, has a vision to grow neighborhood gardens throughout the city. He designed the proposed garden at the club and another larger garden in Animas Park.

"The club's garden will include fruit trees, picnic tables, worm and compost bins, flower beds and 14 plots divided by mulch paths," Drayer said. He said he hopes to see work on the garden begin by spring. A board that will include members of the club, officials with the Parks Department and active plot holders will manage the 60-by-100-foot gravel lot, he said.

Like Drayer, Higgs hopes to spread the word about sustainable practices and community gardening throughout the city. She recently started a study group on sustainability. The group plans to meet Tuesday evenings at Three Rivers Pizzeria.

"I joined "Sustainable San Juan,' a green group in Aztec, and was inspired by a lot of their ideas and commitment," she said.

Joann Clifford, a member of Sustainable San Juan who manages a community garden at Good Samaritan nursing home in Aztec, likes Higgs' efforts and enthusiasm for raising awareness and funding for local green projects.

"I will support Debbie and the garden hand-in-hand," Clifford said. "What we need to spread the word is youth and energy, and Debbie has it."

For more information, contact the Farmington Boys & Girls Club at (505) 327-6396. The Club is located at 1925 Positive Way, on the corner of Sullivan and East 20th.