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San Diego Garden-to-Table Almanac 2015

San Diego Garden-to-Table Almanac 2015


Daily guide to growing food organically in San Diego

Written and produced by San Diego Gardeners for San Diego Gardeners

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"A Transformative Year..."

2014 Year-end Report

2014 was a transformative year at Wild Willow Farm and Education Center. First and foremost, after four-and-a-half years as subtenants of Suzie's Farm, we were able to get our own five-year lease from the County of San Diego, enabling us to continue growing farmers and food at our scenic little educational farm in the Tijuana River Park.

Having a place to do this work is important of course, for the work is what this is all about. The community that makes up Wild Willow Farm is inspired to continue interacting with, learning from and teaching amazing and intelligent people how to grow and eat food sustainably where we live, and transform the agricultural conversation in our region. We have a lot to report on, and many to thank.

2014 Year-end Report, recognitions, and thank yous.


San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project
is a growing network of citizens, farmers, chefs, gardeners, teachers, and students working to encourage the growth and consumption of regional food. From farm to fork, we focus awareness and work toward a more ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just food system in San Diego.

By eating locally, not only do you get fresher, better-tasting food, but you also help support family farms and encourage a vibrant local economy. Please explore the bountiful agricultural and gardening opportunities in San Diego, learn how to become an informed participant in our local food system, and help us encourage others to do the same.

Our Primary Programs



Wild Willow Farm is where we teach people essential sustainable farming skills, host homesteading and gardening workshops, hold community events, and train the next generation of sustainable farmers for our region. The farm is located on the banks of the beautiful and wild Tijuana River Nature Preserve (USA), two miles from the coast, about 15-minutes from downtown San Diego.

School for Sustainable Farming

Farm Volunteering

School Field Trips

Group Tours, Services & Bookings

News and Events

Upcoming Workshops



Victory Gardens San Diego is our urban agriculture program where we help people start growing their own food through collaborative garden builds, and hands-on education community outreach throughout San Diego County.

Victory Gardens San Diego Home
Garden Resources/Tools
Informational Links
Regional Garden Education Network

Farm School Farming 101: Introduction to Farming

Farming 101: Introduction to Farming

Revised format: now quicker and more affordable.

Five-week Course

CLASSES at University of San Diego (Linda Vista)
Wednesdays, 7pm-9pm
FIELD LABS at Wild Willow Farm
Saturdays, 9am-4pm

Cost: $400 + $25 registration fee (includes required textbook)

Wild Willow Farm's Farming 101: Introduction to Farming course offers students an introduction to techniques and strategies for small farming or agricultural advocacy, or to simply grow more of their own food.

2015 Farming 101 Course Dates

Apply for Farming 101 Now

The course consists of lectures and field labs where students learn what it takes to begin and operate a small organic farm business. This course is a prerequisite to becoming a Tier 1 Farming Student.

Farming 101 Class Schedule

Click here to see course guidelines and syllabus


Saturday, March 28: 9am-noon (includes farm lunch)
Topic: Welcome, History of WWF, Farm Tour, Staff & Student Introductions; Introductory lecture: In the Spirit of Organics.
Film: Symphony of the Soil after lunch (optional).

Week 1

Wednesday Class: It Starts with the Soil
Saturday Lab: Making & using compost, mulching, sheet composting, cover cropping.

Week 2

Wednesday Class: Growing Fertile Soil
Saturday Lab: Farm tools -- proper use and care; Evaluating soil texture and moisture; Bed preparation; Mechanical and manual tillage; Compost tea and extract.

Week 3

Wednesday Class: Seasonal Planting Techniques
Saturday Lab: Direct Sowing and Transplanting; Starting seeds; Planting practice.

Week 4

Wednesday Class: How Water Moves through the Soil
Saturday Lab: Irrigation practice and watering your farm under the southern sun.

Week 5

Wednesday Class: Pests, Pathogens & Attracting Beneficial Insects
Saturday Lab: Identifying pests, pathogens and beneficials, harvesting practice, cooking.
Graduation Potluck!

Apply Now

Ongoing Farm School Programs

Continue your farming education in our year-round School for Sustainable Farming program, with weekly classes, hands-on mentoring and additional enrollment benefits. Click here for more information

Join the Wild Willow Farmshare CSA

We invite you to join us as we plant seeds for a healthy and delicious shared future.

Now enrolling for Full and Half Shares

Pickups in Imperial Beach, Chula Vista,
Mission Hills and Talmadge

Click here for more info or to join.

You are invited to become a Wild Willow Farm Shareholder -- our version of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Each weekly or bi-weekly Share includes a seasonal selection of farm-fresh vegetables with occasional fruits, cut flowers, and herbs -- the equivalent of about one grocery bag full of just-harvested produce. Contents of your Share will vary based on seasons and production cycles, but we aim for consistent volume.

Full Share: every week for 12 weeks = $240
Half Share: every other week for 12 weeks = $120

Both Full and Half Shares are $20/each/week, and are the same size. You may join any time shares are available.

Pickup Locations: Imperial Beach, Mission Hills, Chula Vista, Talmadge
Pickups are all on Wednesday afternoons/evenings.

Click here for more info or to join.

New Drop sites sought!

You can apply to become a FarmShare drop site with five or more weekly subscriptions (locations south of Interstate 8 and west of Interstate 15 preferred). To find out more, contact Dorothea at

Breaking News: Wild Willow Farm Gets New Lease on Life!

New 5-year lease with County of San Diego ensures continuing our work educating and teaching about sustainable agriculture.

After a year of uncertainty, we are pleased to announce we've successfully completed negotiation with the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation and just signed a five-year lease agreement, allowing us to continue our educational programs in the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park. Since we started Wild Willow Farm & Education Center in June 2010, we've been graciously operating under a sublease agreement from Suzie's Farm, our next-door neighbors and one of our region's premier organic farms.

This is a milestone for our organization. We began almost 14 years ago to try to save one small organic farm from being shut down because of urban sprawl. Though unsuccessful, we did not quit and undertook the greater challenge of educating our fellow citizens about the importance of local small farms to our economy, our physical and environmental health, and the nature of our back country. Now, for the first time in our history, we have a piece of property with our name on it. This gives us opportunity to make longer-range plans and develop more durable and engaging programming.

Thank You: Robin Taylor and Lucilla DeAlejandro of Suzie's Farm for their support as we grew Wild Willow Farm into what it is today, and to you, our fans, supporters, staff and community members who have been with us as we've changed the food conversation in our County.

Community Event: Open House-Potluck

Open House/Potluck will resume
on March 21, 2015

Volunteering, Yoga, Native Plant Tour, Farm Tour,
Potluck, Live Music, Wood-fired Pizza, Bonfire and more.

at Wild Willow Farm

click here for a map (we recommend you use our map)

(donations in support of our programs are appreciated)

Check out photos from May's potluck,
taken by our friend Gregory Berg!

Schedule for the Day

Our farm is all about community, so what better way to say that than by hosting a monthly community gathering? On third Saturdays each month from March through November, we host volunteer opportunities, tours, a grand potluck meal, and bonfire.

Please Bring

Something yummy to share (extra points for something homemade using organic, locally grown ingredients). Please label your dish and ingredients (share your recipes!).

Your own plate, cup and eating utensils help us keep this a zero-waste event.
Please pack out your recylables and trash.

Jacket and warm clothing. It gets surprisingly cold here at night.

We welcome everyone, but please leave your pets at home.

Children: You may bring kids of any age you feel suitable to be around a farm, including contact with dirt, bugs, thistles and burrs, farm animals, tools, and nature. Children must remain under your direct supervision or awareness at all times. Please no unacompanied children. Wild Willow Farm does not offer childcare services and the farm is not a playground.

About our potlucks: volunteering, free mini-workshops, farm tour, potluck, bonfire, drumming. Farming is all about food. And food is best when shared with community. At our potlucks Wild Willow gives thanks to our amazing community of students, volunteers, educators, fans and eaters of every stripe. Familiar faces and new smiles are always welcome to these joyous gatherings that include educational workshops, volunteer activities, farm tour, potluck dinner, and drum circle around our cob firepit. See photos from our May 2014 potluck taken by Gregory Berg.

NEXT SCHEDULED POTLUCK: March 21, 2015 (weather permitting)

Volunteer at Wild Willow Farm

Open Volunteering at Wild Willow Farm
every Saturday, 11am to 4pm (rain cancels)

No experience necessary. No reservations required.
Volunteer for all or a portion of the hours listed.

Come to the farm and participate in your food system as we grow Wild Willow Farm. Often the best way to learn is by doing, and you'll get a taste of the myriad things a farmer does while preparing and growing San Diego seasonal plantings of vegetables, greens, medicinal and culinary herbs and cover crops.

On-farm chores vary widely week to week and depend entirely on what's happening at the farm that day. Usual activities include composting (hands-on learning every week), watering, bed prep, weeding, mulching, animal care, planting and tending a huge range of plants and more.

No reservations are required. We've got the gloves, tools and tasks, just come prepared for sunshine and dirt (sun hat, appropriate clothing, sturdy closed-toe shoes) and please bring a lunch. We have plenty of drinking water, but having your own water bottle makes it easier for you.

Children: You may bring kids of any age you feel suitable to be around a farm, including contact with dirt, bugs, thistles and burrs, farm animals, tools, and nature. Rest assured we do not use any harmful chemicals on the soil or food we grow. Children must remain under your direct supervision or awareness at all times; we'll do our best to find appropriate activities for your family. Please no unacompanied children unless by prior arrangement, such as for school service hours. Wild Willow Farm does not offer childcare services and the farm is not a playground.

We welcome people of all ages and abilities, but please leave your pets at home.

Many thanks to these fine folks for generously supporting our work!

Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Co-op has provided an ongoing grant of $1000/month in support of our educational field trips to the farm for local school kids since May of 2011. People's Co-op has also made many other donations and provided strong support for our efforts and common goals over the years.

Local Race/Run producer Sandy Feet Events raised $1100 for the farm at the 2014 Wild Willow Farm 5K & Chili Brewfest. Sandy Feet also raises funds for us at the annual Resolution Run held each January in Mission Bay.. Since 2011 Sandy Feet Events has raised over $7800 for Wild Willow Farm!

Musician Jack Johnson and the Johnson Ohana Foundation gave $3000 and promotional support during his local appearance in September 2014. Jack has been a strong supporter of our work and since 2008 has donated $14000 for both Victory Gardens San Diego and Wild Willow Farm.

Jimbo's Naturally contributed $1,180 in 2013 via their "It's in the Bag" program, representing 23,602 votes for our work, and saving 30,434 recycled bags. Since 2010, Jimbo's bag program has raised nearly $4000 for the farm.

Cox Communication and The Trust for Public Land awarded $10,000 to Wild Willow Farm in recognition of SD Roots founder and director, Mel Lions, as winner of the Cox Conserves 2014 Volunteer Hero of the Year for San Diego County.

The Gerson Institute donated $2000 in support of Wild Willow Farm in October 2014. Since 2009 these remarkable people, who teach how to use healthy food to sustain our bodies, have donated over $6000 in support of both Victory Gardens San Diego and Wild Willow Farm.

Patagonia Provisions donated $2500 in October 2014 to support our educational programs for agicultural sustainability.

Alexandria Real Estate donated $1250 following a group teambuilding afternoon at Wild Willow Farm.

Starlite donated $662 in proceeds during their Seventh Anniversary Celebration Week.

True Food Kitchen donated $500 as part of their True Foods Challenge.

County of San Diego Neighborhood Reinvestment Program awarded $3000 in 2014 to promote Wild Willow School for Sustainable Farming

County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program awarded $15,000 in 2013 to install fencing and upgrade our irrigation system..

2013 SDG&E Environmental Champion Grant: $5000 for program improvements.

Kashi REAL Project: Donated $15,000 which has been used for infrastructure improvements around the farm. Since 2011, Kashi REAL and Kashi employees have donated over $28,000 to support our work at Wild Willow Farm & Education Center.

Horizon Foundation: in 2013 awarded a grant of $5000 to support our farm school and install a volunteer coordinator.

If you or your company would like to join this list and support our efforts to educate everyone about the food system and train the next generation of farmers for San Diego County, please click here.