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California’s future seems to be getting greener. Many individuals, community groups, food-justice advocates, environmentalists, city planners, and gardeners are supporting the development of urban agriculture, which aims to increase access to locally grown food and help the public feel more connected to the food they’re eating. Urban agriculture programs also reintroduce us to many aspects of food we’ve forgotten about: how it grows, what grows seasonally, and which regions are ideal for growing certain crops. The practice is becoming increasingly popular in major California cities—community gardens now encourage city dwellers to participate in gardening and grow their own fresh produce. Here are some of the state’s standout urban gardens to check out.
Location: 7579 Mission Gorge Drive, San Diego
California Farm and Garden has been at the forefront of the Golden State’s urban-farming scene since its establishment in 2008. The urban farm gives people an opportunity to explore organic vegetable and herb gardens as well as fruit orchards. Bringing fresh, local, and sustainable produce to consumers, the urban garden uses organic methods and local sources to design, install, and maintain edible landscaping in urban environments. Simultaneously educating the public on global regeneration and sustainability, San Diego’s California Farm and Garden inspires change in local food systems to lead to exponential accessibility and advancement.
Location: 321 Gifford Avenue, San Jose
Creating food security for low-income families, Valley Verde offers educational programs, gardens, and micro-entrepreneurship opportunities. Building healthy and resilient communities, the urban farm guides people to self-sufficiency and establishes values centered on food, gardening, and composting. Valley Verde’s urban agriculture model consists of organic gardening classes and resources for setting up home-based organic vegetable gardens. Valley Verde also has the Super Jardineros program, which trains families to grow seedlings in backyard greenhouses so they can create their own micro-enterprise and generate disposable income. Empowering families to become long-term gardeners, the urban farm in San Jose embraces and celebrates diversity by providing opportunities for growing heritage food to the multiethnic community.
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Location: 4647 Kingswell Avenue, Los Angeles
With a focus on producing farm-to-table food and cultivating sustainable gardens, Eco Urban Gardens uses methods of permaculture and agroecology to create healthy and green communities. This urban garden in the San Gabriel Valley teaches people how to grow food and take care of the environment while also promoting the expansion of urban agriculture. Eco Urban Gardens installs drought-tolerant landscapes blooming with California native plants to improve the health and well-being of Angelenos. Besides contributing to building a healthy community, the garden also offers a variety of programs—such as Farm-to-School, Farm-to-Table, Grow Gardens, and Horticulture Therapy—to people of all ages.
Location: 915 South Blosser Road, Santa Maria
Blosser Urban Garden is a small-scale urban organic farm bringing sustainable agriculture to the Central Coast. Since its founding in 1996, the urban garden has strived to improve its skills and practices and now provides fresh, organic produce for the community at an affordable cost. Other than the one-acre urban garden in Santa Maria, there is also a five-acre family farm in Tanglewood that’s just as mesmerizing. Blosser Urban Garden’s produce is non-GMO and free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides—they’re much safer to consume and contribute to creating sustainable urban agriculture.
Location: 118 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Chapala Gardens is Santa Barbara’s favorite rooftop urban farm that’s committed to helping the community get healthier by providing them with more fruits and veggies. The urban farm also reduces carbon emissions, protecting the health of the environment and making the city greener. If all of that wasnt enough, Chapala Gardens even grows produce for the local farmers market and CSA and donates to the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County and other food-related nonprofits. Helping other individuals kickstart their rooftop farming, the aeroponic farm creates a model for communities to grow their own produce for the further advancement of urban agriculture.
Location: Santa Monica
Committed to being a leader in the local food movement, LA Urban Farms encourages utilizing sustainable solutions to feed the growing population. The farm has its own rooftop farm and also helps other communities build their own; to inspire people to grow their own food, LA Urban Farms helps them actualize the unused spaces around them to realize their potential. By making rooftop farming a popular trend, the organization is redefining what urban agriculture stands for.
Location: 427 C Street, West Sacramento
Providing land, tools, infrastructure, and mentorship to small-scale farmers, the West Sacramento Urban Farm assists people with getting started in urban agriculture. By giving amateurs farmers the opportunity to launch their own businesses, the urban farm not only creates meaningful ways to engage with the local community, but also contributes greatly to the development of urban agriculture and the success of small businesses. The West Sacramento Urban Farm works with over 600 volunteers annually and grows over 25,000 pounds of produce each month during peak seasons to provide food for local residents, schools, restaurants, and nonprofits.
Location: 3010 Fulton Road, Fulton
Growing countless varieties of shrubs, grasses, vines, fruits, and ornamental trees, the Urban Tree Farm Nursery is situated on 20 acres of lush grounds in Fulton. Established in 1967, the urban farm carries everything from perennials to large specimen trees. It is also home to the largest selection of fruit trees in Northern California and the biggest collection of container-grown trees and shrubs in the entire state. Urban Tree Farm Nursery also helps people find a variety of solutions for planting situations with special requirements.
Location: 1151 Sixth Street, Berkeley
Urban Adamah is an educational farm and community center that provides training programs, educational workshops, and community celebrations for 15,000 visitors every year. Seeking to build a more sustainable world, the urban farm in Berkeley offers community-building experiences that integrate Jewish tradition, mindfulness, urban agriculture, and social action. People here take part in all of the agricultural cycles starting from seed to harvest to food preparation and composting. Knowing where food comes from and how it’s grown makes people better appreciate the beauty and power of Mother Nature.
Location: Bella Collina Golf Club, 200 Avenida La Pata, San Clemente
San Clemente Urban Farms is building a network of connected urban Tower Garden growers who are all about practicing healthy living and sustainability. With a passion for helping people adopt a healthy lifestyle, the urban farm focuses on utilizing Tower Gardens so people can grow their own food free of pesticides and chemicals. Thanks to smart and sustainable aeroponics technology, crops grow faster in Tower Gardens than they would in soil and are harvested on a regular basis. San Clemente Urban Farms encourages all to implement the technology in urban agriculture and assists farmers with the planning, design, and construction of aeroponic farms.
Location: 750 East Via Carmelitos, Long Beach
The Growing Experience is an urban farm and community garden that utilizes drought-conscious growing methods to supply fresh and affordable produce for locals while offering community events and educational opportunities. Providing access to locally grown, healthy foods in a traditionally underserved area, the Long Beach farm aims to cultivate an ethical and sustainable local food system. The Growing Experience also promotes community building by serving as a safe green space for people of all ages to visit.
Location: 3110 Euclid Avenue, San Diego
Founded in 1972, City Farmers Nursery is a family-owned and -operated urban community garden that specializes in organic gardening products. Offering free advice to help make your garden projects thrive, the part-working farm provides a full line of organic seeds, in-season selections of vegetable plants, and rare fruit trees. Here, customers are introduced to alternative growing options—hydroponics, vermiculture, aquaculture, and pond growing. The urban community garden is also a great day-trip spot for recreational purposes; the family-friendly nursery makes urban agriculture both fun and sustainable.
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