Youth Voices is working with students from Mountain View High School to explore El Monte/South El Monte and the surrounding communities. The students have formed teams to explore and investigate their communities, map assets, collect and share stories, data and community input for their projects. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work here and on Instagram and Twitter by using #kcetyv.
We were introduced to the Earthworks Community Farm, located in South El Monte, through a field trip organized by KCET Departures Youth Voices. The farm provides free education on organic farming and how to successfully maintain a garden. Visitors can also purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Prior to the field trip none of us, the Flower Bears, knew that the farm existed.
We were introduced to Ms. Marianne Zaugg, the program and development director of Earthworks Farm. Her job involves creating and managing the farm's funding and initiating community outreach. We also met Mr. Angel Abarca, the head farmer. His job is to oversee the crops and the other farmers.
As part of her presentation, Ms. Zaugg gave us a tour of the farm and explained how the farm functions on organic materials and community involvement.
Visiting Earthworks Farm educated us on the conditions and the necessities surrounding maintaining a garden-space. The farm is self-sustaining in that soil compost is produced onsite. It's organized neatly with signs labeling what type of plants are growing in the well kept rows. The farm also features vegetables, fruits, and herbs used in traditional Asian and Hispanic food. Ms. Zaugg explained the process of gardening, and how certain plants are suitable for specific land and desires. For example, kohlrabi is a low maintenance crop to tend to, but it is also a favorite of gophers.
Ms. Zaugg and Mr. Abarca offered to assist our group on our garden project with any advice that involves farming, such as how to create our own compost, and to visit if we have any questions. Earthworks Community Farm offers volunteering opportunities to work the land, as well as individual plots for some classes. Through the volunteer program, we may experience what it's like to actually work the land and care for plants. Earthworks is a resource in guiding us how to prepare for and maintain a garden.