Destiny is back in the west for six weeks. This begins a series on urban farms. Look for a blog on creating a worm bin or palace. A blog on sheet mulching. And a series of visits to urban farms in the East Bay.
My grandson Rowan, being mentored on his way toward manhood, exemplified by the bar mitzvah he will experience in a year, on his 13th birthday, has been working at Urban Adamah.
A real estate agency has allowed the young people who developed this amazing farm, covering most of a city block, until they have another use for the property. All of this was accomplished in one year’s time!
Every structure is temporary so moving will not be difficult. The chicken compound, greenhouses, and raised beds are all portable.
A master gardener worked for several months putting the key pieces in place and teaching the young people who work there. In turn, the young people who run the farm teach kids from neighboring schools how to farm. These kids are making a smoothie powered by their pedaling a bike!
The hallmarks of permaculture are evident everywhere, particularly the in-ground beds which follow the berm and swale principles of slowing, spreading and storing water.
Worm bins and compost piles sit near the raised beds for another permie principle: stacked functions.
These raised beds are low tech and mounted on pallets for good circulation. The wood sides create an opportunity for more art and decoration.
The farm had just had an intensive workshop in integrated pest management (IPM) which includes whole beds of flowers which attract beneficial insects.
They have a rolly polly problem (do you know this little bug that looks like a hedgehog, segmented and rolling up at the slightest provocation?) The rolly pollys are eating their baby lettuce.
They have little pools of beer in saucers for the slugs and snails but they have no slug problem apparently.
Chickens love the snails that were originally imported for French immigrants. Escargot?
Beautiful art announces and explains each feature of the farm.
Chickens are an integral part of the permie concept of farming offering many features: they give eggs and feathers, eat bugs, they offer their poop for compost and fertilizer, they eat green compost, and scratch areas that need loosened soil.
Children can gather in this lovely carpeted tent for their classes when the sun is too hot.
I bought our worms from Urban Adamah. (see blog on worms!)
Yes it is near my youngest daughter’s home and my grandson does work here as well.
Many of the young people are associated with our reconstruction temple Chochmat Halev, which is devoted to a god who is both male and female.
Men and women conduct the services.
Drumming, singing, and dancing give pulse to our services.
And the prayers sing of our agricultural heritage.
Signs welcoming me to Urban Adamah, along with the lovely faces
of young people deeply enjoying growing and harvesting foods, make this farm at Parker and San Pablo in Berkeley a place I like to return to, again and again.
When I worry about how Project GROW will introduce young people to a cuisine that is local, home grown, and lightly prepared, when I consider how to slowly wean kids away from fast food and chicken mcnuggets, I rest on the assurances of my friends who have worked with kids and gardens.
They tell us this:
if they grow it, they will love it.
If they cook it, they will love to eat it.