Seeds @ City strives to receive $15,000 grant

The greenhouse is the latest addition to City's urban farm.

Torrey Spoerer

Seeds @ City Urban Farm has entered a voting contest to win a $15,000 grant from Gardens for Good, an agricultural fundraising program sponsored by organic packaged food producers Nature’s Path. Students can make multiple votes up through the end of September.

With the Gardens for Good grant, Seeds will develop a farm-to-cafeteria
program on campus by increasing agricultural production so that the farm can supply the City College cafeteria with low-cost fruits
and vegetables. This produce
would be made available for purchase by students or school employees,
or for use in prepared foods that are sold in the cafeteria.

“We are passionate about increasing our ability to serve the students,” said Seeds Program Manager Lora Logan, “as well as educating students and the broader college community about the importance and value of farm-to-cafeteria programs.”

Already, the urban farm has about three full acres for growing produce. One of them is a new hillside orchard behind the City College gym, where one of the farm’s newest upgrades can be spotted.

Seeds also recently built their new 30’x20′ professional greenhouse, located on top of a hill above the Seeds orchard.
The greenhouse’s construction was completed on Aug. 17, just two weeks after it began.

The greenhouse helps crops grow out of season, which gears towards more consistency of produce amounts and also giving some crops an early start before their prime season rolls around the corner.

This new addition, along with other assistance to the City College agricultural program, were funded by a recent grant from the outdoor apparel company Patagonia. The grant was earned by Seeds via Kickstarter.

“Through grants, donations, our farmers market and volunteer work, we’ve been a self-sustaining urban agricultural space ever since it started in 2008,” said Logan. “Most of our space and supplies were not paid for by the school, as most students usually assume.”

According to the farm’s volunteer coordinator, Joh Sheely, Seeds has been receiving “such a high demand for classes and volunteer work that we’ve had to put a cap on how many students and volunteers we can squeeze in.”

Space in the AGRI department classes has also been quite limited due to a high demand of both elective students and agriculture associates students combined together.

In order to achieve the capacity needed for developing a farm-to-cafeteria program at City, Logan explains “It’s very important that we win the Gardens for Good grant and continue on the progressive growth we’ve seen in our AGRI program and Seeds urban farm development over the past five years.”

Student or not, anyone interested can help Seeds @ City win the Gardens for Good grant by voting online. The only limit on voting is once a day. Therefore, multiple votes can be made all month long. Visit www.sdcity.edu/seedsatcity and click on “Support the Farm” to find the link to their voting page.

Seeds also has a farmers market stand that is open from 9 a.m – 1 p.m. on Thursdays, where students can buy produce grown in the farm.

For volunteer hours, visit sdcity.edu/SeedsAtCity.

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