2 Farms in 2 Days: WE DID IT!
On February 27th and 28th, 2010 at Richmond and Kennedy High Schools, the Richmond community painted a beautiful image of what a mutually concerned, co-operative, and cohesive community is really capable of.
Students, teachers, community members, local organizations, and even a few elected officials took time from their weekends and love from their hearts to help raise TWO beautiful farms at Richmond and Kennedy High Schools!
Thanks to an all day effort, rain and shine, on Day 1, Kennedy High School is now equipped with 13 rows of crop producing power! Each individual crop row is 2 ft in width, 100 ft in length and 4 inches deep. Each row brings the promise of bountiful yields for many seasons to come! Look to the spring for the popping up of seasonal snow peas, swiss chard, and spinach! Three native plant beds were also planted on site. Two ornamental native plant gardens were raised in front of the crop rows near the scoreboard, and between crop rows 10 an 11 a native flower garden was raised so as to attract beneficial insects, and bring pollinators.
On Day 2, Richmond High School was equally blessed with the construction of 6 wooden planter beds, the planting of six fruit trees, and the raising of a native plant garden. Builders from the community used nails, power drills, metal mesh, and a bit of elbow grease to help construct six wooden beds. Each wooden bed spans 32 feet in length, 4 feet across, and nearly 2 feet deep! After a lot of wheelbarrowing and soil moving these beds are prepped to produce delicious vegetables such as carrots, kale, chives, and iceberg lettuce as spring approaches. Richmond High School is also now the proud owner of six fruit trees, and a beautiful native plant garden that will serve to attract beneficial insects, and pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies!
The farms raised at these two schools will serve to grow fresh, healthy, organic produce for over 80 local Richmond families. The 2 Farms in 2 Days project is a true testament to the capabilities and potential of a motivated, and mutually concerned community. Without the help from volunteers, donors, Richmond/Kennedy High Schools, and the community, none of this would have been possible, thank you all so very much!
Below this message, we have listed the names of those individuals, and local businesses who donated funds and materials from their own pockets to help make the 2 Farms in 2 Days project a reality. It is donations from individuals like these that enable the financing and facilitation of agricultural projects such as 2 Farms in 2 Days event. We thank these people for the care and support they have given, and reiterate that this event would not have been possible without the help of these generous individuals!
To The West Contra Costa Unified School District…
Thank you so much to all the staff, teachers, administration, school board, and students for volunteering your time and effort toward this project. We would like to especially Principle Brown-Garcia who stayed with us all Saturday day rain and shine and Vice Principle of Richmond High who worked without stopping from the start to well past the end of the day setting the most positive example possible for their students and staff!
Thank you to Park Guthrie and Jesse Kurtz-Nichol whose vision and endless hours of behind the scenes work for the past 2 years made this a reality. You are the individuals who put in the essential hours of planning and labor to help make the 2 Farms in 2 Days event a success!
Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Councilman Jim Rogers, Councilman Jeff Ritterman, Jesse Kurtz-Nichol, Park Guthrie, Corinna Lefkowitz, Bob Gade and the ever so fabulous student MCs of Kennedy High School
Business and Foundation Donors
Thank you so much to everyone who took time and energy to help with this amazing project. WE DID IT!
EPILOGUE: The Work Continues!
Although the vast majority of the work needed for the development of these agricultural farms has been performed, there is still the matter of on going farm maintenance, irrigation system upkeep, crop rotation, and of course harvesting and replanting!
It is our hope that the 2 Farms in 2 Days event does not represent a one time, solitary effort toward the development of permanent healthy food production systems in Richmond. Instead, we hope that this event sets a precedence for more developments and projects of its’ kind.
During this time we ask for sponsors and donations of any amount to help us finance the materials and supplies needed to maintain these beautiful farms. Once again, any donation amount helps, and every cent counts!
These farms will grow food that directly changes the food landscape of the families in the schools of Richmond. And best of all, the farms will be built by the students, teachers, parents and community members surrounding the schools. These “farms” will accompany Urban Agriculture Institutes at both schools where students will learn not only how to manage the farms, but earn graduation credit, learn better nutrition and build and beautify the school community. Please continue to help us raise the funds necessary for the material and labor costs to sustain these “farms”. Richmond and Kennedy High are the first High Schools in California to run a food production program that is student centered, service oriented, and entirely focused on producing healthy food that feeds the community from which it came. Support that premise and begin to bring change to our public schools.
We have many ways in which to support this endeavor. Please choose a product-level that you are comfortable with and will help us continue this vital endeavor. Thank you.
A History: Kennedy High Farm and Edible Forest
The Kennedy High Urban Agriculture Club meets after school on Tuesdays in Room 403. Park Guthrie is the sponsor. We initially teamed up with the Leadership Class Beautification Committee to spruce up the Memorial Tree garden. Regular club members include Jonathon, Michelle, Sandi, Adriana, Joana, Johnny, and Clarence.
Kennedy High School has nearly an acre of underused or little used open space suitable for planting scattered around the campus. We hope to turn some of these areas into engaging, productive gardens where KHS students can take the lead in growing a healthier local food system. We are focusing on three areas right now:
(1) Propagation Area: We set up a quick and simple propagation area north of the 500 building. This area currently holds more than 80 purple tree collards (propagated by Park Guthrie’s biology class students), flats of thyme and oregano we started from seeds, and various donated plants—plum trees, day lillies, and llacon. This is where we start our seedlings and hold plant donations until we are ready to plant them. For now, Jocelyne and Muang (biology students) water the propagation area on Mondays and Fridays at lunch. Once the nearby hosebib gets repaired, we will put this area on an irrigation timer.
(2) Edible Forest/Perennial Garden: This section is between the cafeteria (800 wing) and Cutting Blvd. just inside the chain link fence. We have begun planting fruit trees (figs, Capulin cherries) and edible perennials (nopales, autum olive, grape, currant, purple tree collards, mint). We are focussing on a 1,600 square foot section most of which receives full sun.
(3) Market Garden: We have received permission to begin developing a market garden in an 8,000 square foot section just south of the scored board by the football field. We are looking forward to installing the market garden during the 2 Farms in 2 Days event on February 27th/28th of 2010. Check back for more details.
The KHS Urban Ag Club receives significant support from Urban Tilth: plant and material donations (irrigation supplies, landscaping cloth, seeds, etc.) as well as tool loans and fundraising support.
The KHS Urban Ag Club is also very grateful to the west Contra Costa County Ed Fund which supported our efforts with a $1,000 grant in November.
We are also very grateful to Principal Roxanne Brown-Garcia and WCCUSD’s Grounds Supervisor Dave Frazier for their time and support.