Kristen Roth – Pagosa Daily Post News Events & Video for Pagosa Springs Colorado

Healthy Archuleta, a local Archuleta County nonprofit also known as the FSFE – Food Coalition, continues to celebrate the local food heroes who make up the Archuleta County food system and the surrounding Southwest. These individuals uniquely contribute to the community’s vision of a sustainable, health-promoting and equitable local diet so that all have access to nutritious foods at affordable prices. The effort to capture the profiles of integrated community members began as part of the Archuleta Food System Summit that took place on April 9, 2022. Today we’d like to highlight Kristen Roth from Archuleta County who shared this narrative with us:

Kristen Roth

“I’ve been a lifelong break-out gardener. I grew up in the Bay Area where gardening was easy – the climate, soil and access to good seeds and plants made gardening a breeze! My father was a wonderful gardener and my mother was a wonderful cook, incorporating all the fresh produce and grown fruit into our meals While, as a child, I never enjoyed the “chores” of watering, the sweet memories I had of peace and quiet (needed badly after a stressful day at school), the sun, the smells and sounds of the garden, and the delicious memories of family meals created From the food we’ve grown, I’ve been inspired to grow my own gardens all my life.

“Since moving to Pagosa Springs 24 years ago, I’ve had ups and downs with my gardening experience. The climate, being dry, dry and breezy, can make keeping things watered and free from burning. I’ve broken down some of this using hoops and protective cover over my plants Shade-loving such as kale, lettuce, cabbage, chard, beets, carrots, and broccoli.The cover also helps keep my garden somewhat safe from insects, deer, and difficult weather (heat waves, hail storms, strong winds).I also use raised beds because it helps relieve The physical stress of gardening as well as helping to maintain the earth’s habitation, prevent animals from snacking on roots and plants.

I always start the bottom of the bed with a tightly woven metal strip, draped over the sides of the raised bed. I have also found it necessary to start with good soil and continue to amend it with compost every year. I throw all the vegetable scraps in my kitchen (never animal/dairy products) into 3 compost bins (made of chicken wire bent into a tube) in my yard next to my greenhouse dome. The bear intrudes from time to time but that’s how life goes in the jungle!

I hand made (thank you, my husband!) a bee habitat (for builder bees and leaf cutters) to help with pollination. And I will always welcome wasps into my dome, because they are helpers too. Finally, I never use anything poisonous in my garden – if I have aphids and mildew, I take it as a sign that I might be trying to grow foods that are wrong for the environment. I found that growing peppers and eggplant in the dome was not supposed to be in my area. But herbs and chard are always a hit!

This year, I plan to try a new book-based system, All new square feet gardens: grow more in less space. Author Mel Bartholomew is an international gardener with over 25 years of experience. The book builds on his extensive working knowledge of soil (he has a special mix that’s supposed to be very drought-friendly), garden design, and seed spacing. The way he organizes garden planning and planting promises to make the whole experience that much simpler. I’m adding 3 new ‘square feet’ (4’X8′) garden beds and I hope I’m not over my head! (Does anyone want to share in the harvest? Seriously!)

“Finally, I harvest for my family and include a harvest donated to the FS/FE Food Distribution Center, which distributes my produce and other ‘backyard farmers’ produce to local food pantries who then distribute food to those with limited access and that means fresh, locally grown food. The entirety of the Archuleta Food System/Food Equity Program or FS/FE (part of a larger organization, Healthy Archuleta, Inc.) is to help create an equitable distribution of a healthy, local, and sustainable diet in Pagosa Springs.

“If you are interested in joining the Backyard Growers Group (whether you are a passionate gardener, new gardener or hobbyist), please contact me at No donations to harvest are too small!”

For questions about Healthy Archuleta, please contact us at or 401-371-3227.

Rose Chavez

Rose Chavez

Rose Chavez is a public health advisor to the Archuleta Food System/Food Equity Coalition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.