The official WorkerAnts’ Colony
WorkerAnts.com is very excited about the upcoming World Food Day on October 16 and as part of that we have really been looking at community urban farms. So some us went and volunteered at Veggielution, a community farm in San Jose, CA that was started by six college students that saw an empty plot of land and had a dream. They approached the city of San Jose and asked for the right to start a community farm on some park land. The city gave them 0.2 acres. Six years later they have over 6 acres and are running programs that donated or sold at very reduced cost over 36 thousand pounds of food last year. Families can sign-up for a program that will provide them with a box of fruits and veggies for their family- giving many without the funds to buy organic foods the chance to eat nutritious meals.
Veggielution grows food for the community and anyone in the community who wants to can either purchase produce from their farm stand or come and work on the farm as a volunteer. Volunteers work for about 2 hours on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday and can take away veggies with them as a “thank you” for their work!
During the time our team was on site we trimmed Kale and Thai Sweet Basil, and learned about growth cycles and how to get our kitchen gardens to produce more herbs. We were taught about organic fertilizer and the importance of insect life to the native plants, as well as why it is important to let land lie fallow and rotate your crops. Everyone who worked at the farm sought to impart knowledge as part of our volunteer experience, which ties in well with their stated goals. Veggielution runs many educational programs both at their farm and in local schools. They teach cooking classes, have a plot of land dedicated just to children so they can learn to farm, and work to promote the value of good nutrition.
Importantly they also seek out volunteers from all walks of life in an effort to create a sense of community and a forum for open dialogue with people from different ethnic, religious and financial backgrounds. They create a place where both the Silicon Valley millionaires and the many in San Jose who make below poverty levels of income can come and find common ground. By teaching the value of urban farming, nutrition and community they create awareness of the issues of sustainable development and climate change that affect us all.
The value of the work they are doing cannot be overstated. In urban areas you are seeing disturbing trends. Children and adults are unaware of where their food comes from or the effects of farming on the environment. Many low income families cannot afford to purchase healthy foods like fruit and vegetables and instead subsist on low cost meals with poor nutritional value – often foods high in fats, sugars and salt which can increase the likelihood of many health risks. But urban farming helps to address these needs.
Kudos to Veggielution and other organizations like them for the work they do.