Tu Salud Verde Community Farms is Mesa Verde Gardens’ newest program. Launched in spring of 2017, this program expands our direct response to food insecurity in Santa Cruz County. Our farms are located on mid-county land donated for our use by some very generous landowners. Who also provide the necessary water! In 2017 we grew on about 1/2 acre, which included planting 85 fruit trees. In 2018, this will expand to 1.5 acres.
Our primary focus areas are:
Tu Salud Verde is the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program focused specifically on low-income families in Pajaro Valley. We grow organic, fresh produce—with attention to varieties that are preferred in the community we serve—and distribute them in affordable weekly boxes to participating member families. 18 members in 2017, with plans to increase to 75 in 2018.
Providing organic produce to like-minded partners such as Teen Kitchen Project—a local nonprofit that teaches young people to cook nourishing meals that are delivered free of charge to people coping with life-threatening illness. In 2018 we will expand our relationship with TKP, growing some dedicated crops to fit their unique menus and needs.
Employment development for Mesa Verde Gardens members. In 2107, a small cohort of dedicated, enthusiastic MVG gardeners became part-time core staff with Tu Salud Verde—as groundskeepers, farmers, and CSA coordinator. Together with TSV’s program coordinator, they have developed and implemented a vibrant, successful new project. Hiring a full-time farmer in 2018 to manage our 1.5 acre community farm is a primary goal.
Each of us in the Tu Salud Verde Community Farm Program experience great joy and pride in our work—a sense of agency and deep satisfaction in being able to provide affordable organic produce to community members who have previously had little or no access to it. We believe that healthy food is a right, not a privilege. We are grateful and excited to have the opportunity to do this meaningful work, and to be compensated for our dedication and commitment. We look forward to many years of Community Farming—expanding our acreage on which to grow nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, employing additional like-minded community members, and, especially, providing affordable fresh organic produce to more and more low-income families.
We are committed to bringing significant financial donations to Mesa Verde Gardens through the sharing of our beautiful produce. We could earn more by selling in higher-income communities, but we are committed to providing healthy food at affordable rates to low-income people. As a non-profit program, we will always look for financial support from individuals and foundations. If you’d like to support us in this way, please hit the DONATE button, and designate that you’d like your donation to go toward the Community Farm program.
To learn more about Tu Salud Verde, to schedule a tour of our Community Farms, please contact Ana Rasmussen, Program Coordiator firstname.lastname@example.org or Candy Moreira, CSA Coordinator email@example.com