Seeds@City Urban Farm
at San Diego City College
January 1, 2012
Kickstarter Fundraising Campaign
for the "Shoots" Greenhouse.
Downtown on the farm
It's been a little over 3 1/2 years since Julia, myself and our amazing farm team started our brown revolution (brown compost is the new green) by composting over the almost half acre lawn at City College In Downtown San Diego. Since that time the challenges of urban farming have been teaching us to grow personally as well as vegetatively.
Growing farmers as well as vegetables
Something interesting you may not know is that as courses, staff positions and entire programs are being eliminated throughout the public education system, the Seeds@City sustainable agriculture program is growing and yielding (in farming it's all about yields) not only literally tons of organic vegetables and fruits for students, local community and staff, but more importantly nearly one hundred new urban farmers have completed the Seeds@City apprentaship program.
Additionally, in the last year and a half, hundreds of students have taken our newly accredited courses in sustainable agriculture. A number of other community colleges with waining attendance have inquired to why our program is attracting an over whelming interest from students of all ages. It seems making a difference just might require doing something different.
Filling a huge niche
The agriculture program at Seeds@City is surprisingly the first of its kind at an institution of higher learning in San Diego County. Surprising because agriculture is one of our biggest industries. The fact is we lead the nation in small family farms practicing organic methods in our county. When we started Seeds@City internship program one of the first questions we were asked was "where will our graduates get jobs?" We felt strongly that opportunities in this fertile industry exist but they don't necessarily equate to jobs. Our graduates have been putting their "farm sense" to practice. I'm extremely proud to say a number of Seeds@City graduates have secured employment in this rapidly growing field as farmers, educators, edible landscape design/contractors, food growing consultants and a number are now operating their own entrepreneurial enterprises.
Creating a need
Seeds@City is not immune to the stresses of the economic status we all are experiencing. One way we can become more self sufficient is to generate our own funding needed for offering additional courses per semester (currently only two courses per semester are funded). The sustainable agriculture program consists of 12 state approved courses that make up one associates degree and five certificates.
Our plan is to grow seasonal organic heirloom vegetable, flower and herb starts appropriate for our growing conditions and market them to local home gardeners, family farms and operating a Starts CSA program (community supported agriculture) where customers will get fresh starts four times throughout the year.
So a greenhouse is needed; luckily we have the land already to put it on. Also, by being resourceful farmers we have transformed the original farm site from a standard resource demanding landscape, to a teaming, biologically-rich, urban, food forest complete with over sixty fruits trees (this summer we are expecting their first big crop). And with this, we have created the need for a fence around the farm. We have hesitated on fencing until we found one that did not resemble a prison yard and we found a number of styles that are commonly used on farms (wow! who would have thought?)
Give anything you can
Click here to go to our Kickstarter page where you will be asked to contribute. If we hit our financial goal we all win. If we don't, we don't get any of the contributions people have pledged. In the event we don't meet the goal I single handedly will have to build a greenhouse and construct the farm fence and I'm cool with this, heck! in fact it's already on my list of "things to do". I do feel you'll enjoy the Kickstarter video and be inspired by the words of our future farmers. If you feel the urge to pass this on, please do.
Seeds@City farm manager/educator