Sol Food Mobile Farm Days 88-97: California

| November 12, 2012

It is truly exciting for the Sol Food Crew to finally be driving down the West Coast! We had been planning this trip for so long, and the West Coast felt so far away, but now we are finally here! In order to truly take in the Pacific Ocean and its rocky coast, we drove down Route 1. The twisting road and craggy coastline made for a beautiful drive (with some nerve-wracking turns)! On our trip down to San Francisco, we stopped in Redwood National Park and hiked amongst the ancient redwood trees. The sheer magnitude of the redwoods completely blew us away.

Eliza at the Pacific Ocean

Our first farm visit in California was to Slide Ranch. This ranch is a unique working farm in both its approach to education and in its physical setting. The ranch is perched on the coastal cliffs of the Pacific Ocean and shares borders with Muir Woods and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This location makes the farm part of the National Park system and provides the public with an open space to explore the ocean, forest and farmland ecosystems. While visiting Slide Ranch, we watched a chicken slaughter, milked goats, and prepped their garden for the winter.

That weekend, we drove to Full Belly Farm for the “Hoes Down Harvest Celebration”. The festival hosted hundreds of people and was jam packed with activities. We brought the bus into the heart of the festival and volunteered on Saturday night at one of the many food tents. We enjoyed live music, farming workshops, great food and a night camping under the stars in the Full Belly Farm walnut grove.

After the festival, we drove into Berkley and explored the Bay Area. We all loved the San Francisco/Berkeley area! While in Berkeley, we visited Urban Adamah, a Jewish farm. The UA farm sits on an acre of land and is busting at the seams with healthy produce! Rae, the farm manager, gave us a wonderful tour of their operation which includes raised pallet beds, a huge vermicomposting site, herb spirals, bees, a cobb oven, an outdoor kitchen and two large greenhouses. During our visit to Urban Adamah, we harvested boxes of tomatoes, collards, mustard greens, beans and squash. All of the harvested produce is given away for free to families who are in need. Urban Adamah is also partnered with an organization called Urban Worm. They are a large-scale vermicomposting business that sells worms and worm castings. We were lucky enough to receive a donation of 2,000 worms for our new worm bin.

Urban Adamah

On Saturday, we gave tours in downtown Berkeley’s Farmer’s Market. It was a beautiful day to be giving tours, and we all received surprise visits from old friends. Later in the week, the Sol Food crew worked in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco and helped out building new beds in the Tenderloin People’s Garden. This was the most urban garden we have worked on, because it was literally in the middle of a bustling downtown center! The Tenderloin People’s Garden is a thriving farm that provides free produce for residents of the area.

New vegetable beds at the Tenderloin District

We all had a wonderful time in the Bay Area of California, and were sad to leave. Our final stop in California was in El Segundo. We stayed with Theresa Loe, our good friend and PBS producer from “Growing a Greener World.” Through Theresa’s connections, we were able to visit every school in El Segundo! On our first day, we visited an Engineering and Environmental Science class at the local high school. Later that day, we gave tours to several middle school science classes. On our second day in El Segundo, we visited the Eeementary school and gave tours to the entire school! It was fantastic to talk to such bright and interested students. We received so many smart questions from all of the students we worked with. It was refreshing to be working in schools again, because we all love teaching kids. We had a wonderful time in El Segundo and were highly appreciative of Theresa’s hospitality.

A school group in El Segundo

After months of driving west, we are finally driving back east. In the next week, we will be driving through the southwest, headed for Austin, TX!

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Category: Featured, Kids & Food, Sol Food Mobile Farm

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  1. Simply Life says:

    Oh I bet that drive along the west coast is just gorgeous!

  2. Juliana says:

    Nice pictures…El Segundo is not too far from where I live 🙂