Goals: Health, Sustainability, Education
Physical Health/Community Health:
The founders of this nonprofit believe one of the most systemically engrained issues in San Diego's culture is the poor health of our children. Of San Diego County’s 3.3 million residents, 494,439 people face food insecurity every day. Of this number, 164,137 are children. Our number one goal is to focus on the health and future of children in at-risk communities and give them the opportunity to gain hands on skills while building community based food resources. One of the most important aspects of our work is the personal development and community building that materializes when youth participate in civic engagement and community service. We will help develop interpersonal skills in youth while physically developing a network of efficient Micro-farms. Our devotion to youth outreach and community health will create a space for at-risk youth to work on their problem-solving skills while also building lasting community bonds around healthy food and sustainable practices.
By growing residential/urban vegetable gardens and Micro-Farms, especially with organic practices, we are dedicated to reducing the demands put on our land by commercial agriculture. We recognize that by creating an efficient chain of production and consumption within a community we are able to reduce the energy used to put food on your plate (currently, about 1/4 of all greenhouse gases produced are the result of agricultural production2), help keep our waterways clean by reducing the demand for water to irrigate, and reducing the chemical load entering our waterways from fertilizers and pesticides. All of these reasons make residential vegetable production an essential part of a modern and sustainable environmental ethic. The regenerative nature of our mission is evident in our composting pick-up program. By creating a system of residential composting we are reducing our climate impact while regenerating healthy soil in our communities. Think farm to table... to farm.
Compost works wonders for soil. It can:
• Conserve water by decreasing irrigation use
• Produce more crops
• Reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides
• Suppress plant diseases and pests, thereby producing healthier plants
• Protect against both erosion and flooding
• Filter pollution out of the soil and restore contaminated land
Meanwhile behind most homes, businesses, and schools are trashcans overflowing with the nutrients that our soil needs — in the form of potato peels, grass clippings and leftover tamales. The environmental benefit from composting is due to both the decreased fossil fuel consumption from waste transportation and the reduction of greenhouse gases produced as the food decomposes in a landfill. Anaerobic decomposition of organic material in a landfill produces both CO2 and methane gas. Methane is more efficient at trapping radiation; and is able to trap 25 times more to global warming than carbon dioxide per pound3. Mainly because of the anaerobic decay in landfills, it is estimated that every pound of food thrown away results in 3.8 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions4. Nearly half of the trash in the U.S. is biodegradable material that could be composted5. This is a problem, and the U.S. as a global power must do better; San Diego, as a "smart tech" leader and advocate for ocean conservation, must do better; and the execution of individual cities'/states' climate action plan is one way to continue to lead.
Through composting programs and efficient regenerative agriculture, we can return these nutrients to the soil and sequester carbon throughout the process. Our concern for community health does not stop at the communities we serve, we understand the global impact of our consumption habits and the devastating affect climate change and global warming will have on impoverished populations throughout the world. Our goal is to reduce the everyday impact of communities within our reach (San Diego) so that our local health is improved and the future of our planet is considered.
A key component in creating a healthy, sustainable community is developing pathways for self-empowerment and economic mobility. By building a network of educated growers, communities are more resilient to food-price fluctuations and have a greater ability to build community relationships that foster public participation. Educating youth and their families about the economic efficiency of growing food and the biophysical importance of healthy eating can empower community efforts at self-sustainability and the fight against gentrification. Our educational programs focus on dropout prevention, work/study programs, and grower certification. Through our youth employment program our students are trained in sustainable land stewardship by leading production for our Micro-farms, orchestrating volunteers, and leading garden creation. We aim to engage teens, veterans, seniors and all community members in local projects to help break cycles of hunger, poverty, inequality & oppression. We truly believe in this Venn diagram created by Goodgrub.org
1 San Diego Hunger Coalition. (San Diego County Food Insecurity, 2015.)
2 Bennetzen, Eskild H., Pete Smith, and John R. Porter. "Agricultural production and greenhouse gas emissions from world regions—The major trends over 40 years." Global Environmental Change 37 (2016): 43-55.