My six-year-old son Billy and I recently had the privilege to lend a hand to “raise” a garden at Kennedy High School in Richmond, California. We arrived mid-morning at a southern exposed site nestled near the school’s track. The work area swarmed with students, school staff, parents, and Urban Tilth, the organizing non-profit who produced the day as part of its project, 2 Farms in 2 Days.
The intention behind this weekend event aims to produce real, productive farms that, according the organization’s website, “grow food that directly changes the food landscape of the families in the schools of Richmond,” where there are too few options for local residents to find fresh produce — a common challenge for many urban and underserved communities.
Doria Robinson, the Executive Director of Urban Tilth, and third-generation resident of Richmond, said that it was, “important that these farms be raised by those who represent the community,” and judging from the dozens of young brown faces present that day, her organization succeeded.
Our party wheel barrowed steaming compost, carefully laid railroad ties, edged raised beds of edible native plants with mulch, and planted several half-gallon pots of the venerable purple collard greens.
Adding to the mix of helpers was a goat trimming the nearby grass and some chickens adding value to the soil. For most of the morning and early afternoon it rained, but the entire group worked steadfast and in good humor, serenaded by the beats of the local hip-hop station. Most present knew this event was merely the beginning. These Kennedy High students will learn how to manage the farm and its produce, earning college credit along the way. And most importantly, lay a foundation for a healthier, sustainable community.
To learn more about Urban Tilth and how you can support their efforts to create sustainable foodways, check out their website!