John Muir Land Trust’s Family Harvest Farm Project Plants the Seeds of Healthy Futures
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Family Harvest Farm (FHF) nurtures the possibility of healthy futures for transition-age foster youth. A project of John Muir Land Trust (JMLT), the non-profit enterprise gives urban Pittsburg, California residents a way to enjoy a vibrant green space in their own neighborhood. In addition to providing work experience and a supportive environment where foster youth can envision and prepare for fulfilling career paths, the farm offers free organic produce to the greater community while demonstrating that seemingly dead land can be regenerated into a lush, thriving ecosystem.
Dedicated to giving back to the land, not just taking from it, Senior Farm Manager Mary Cherry guides the FHF team of apprentices, volunteers, and staff in growing healthy organic produce. Sustainably farming the 3 1/2-acre fenced area within a sunbaked vacant lot under PG&E power lines began with layering organic material in a method colloquially called “lasagna farming” to regenerate the biodiversity of the heavy clay soil. When ground squirrels recently destroyed a crop of squash, Cherry planted the space with a different vegetable, modeling the resilience that characterizes everyone associated with the project. >> CONTINUED