How to Design a Community to Grow More Than Food

Display of local produce at outdoor farmers' market

At Huerta Del Valle, a community garden in Ontario, California, organizers want to see the people there grow with the food.

After nearly three years, 62 families grow organic produce in their own 10- by 20-foot plots for which they pay a mere $30 a year. The four-acre site has space to double its rented plots by next year, said Arthur Levine, technical support and projects manager for the nonprofit organization.

So, growing food – check.

 To grow the people, Huerta Del Valle will pursue an ambitious plan to build a community and education center. The group raised $18,000 in one month to cover the cost of one of four structures that will make up the center – a library built from a discarded shipping container.

The campaign moves them closer to an ambitious goal of providing the community with its own organic produce, improving community health and opportunity, and teaching new skills.

“We have a lot of knowledge in our community because a lot of the people who use the garden are elders from Mexico. Their life is so different from the life we have. They grew up on a farm, growing their own food,” Levine said. “We want to put that knowledge together with the people who want to learn it. They may not have a place to share it. … It’s why we’re building and investing in the community education center.

“Right now there’s so many empty lots all over Ontario, especially after the economic crisis. There’s a lot of big empty spaces all around. Why couldn’t a few of those be a community garden?”

Huerta Del Valle started in 2010 with a community garden at a school in the city. The garden came out of a program at Pitzer College in nearby Claremont. The program, called Pitzer in Ontario, is an experiential learning opportunity for students of urban studies and community-based research. One such student wanted to start a community garden to address food access for Ontario residents.

Meanwhile, the city applied for and won a Healthy Eating Active Living grant to address childhood and adult diet- and exercise-related issues. Officials were committed to developing a community garden with the grant money. They noted Huerta Del Valle’s efforts and started negotiating with the group to manage the project. In April 2013, they started developing the site they’re on today.

“We provide the seeds, the city pays for the water, we provide the tools and the compost. People just pay for the spot to rent it and they have everything else provided,” Levine said. “You can pay in installments. We never turn anyone away. This project is about access to fresh food, not about who can pay.”

To provide seeds, tools, and other garden necessities, Huerta Del Valle (which means Garden of the Valley) keeps a working farm next to the garden. They sell to local markets and restaurants and to members of the community.

“We sell on site for about $1 per pound for pretty much anything,” Levine said. They include low- and fixed-income residents, accepting payment methods, such as SNAP (Supplemental Food Assistance Program).

“Then we sell to restaurants. So the farm component of the community garden is designed to raise funds to keep the project going,” he said.

Levine said the community members using the garden say they’re feeling better and loving the food. Growers harvest food, then take it home and add it to their meals. It’s more reminiscent of life in Mexico, where many people incorporate food from nearby farms or their own garden into their diet. It’s a practice lost in a community with poor produce selection at stores.

“People are happy,” he said.

Approaching its third anniversary, Huerta Del Valle sees a lot of ways to grow. A successfulKickstarter campaign moves the group another step closer to realizing its goals of addressing more than diet. Levine said organizers want to pursue economic development, providing food and farming jobs in a community where many residents depend on temporary warehouse positions for income. And that could mean lasting change.

“If we could put them in a better position, we could change the landscape in terms of access (and) health,” he said.

2016-02-16T10:30:14+00:00

Related Questions

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: Several people in the conscious community have stated that adding flax seeds and/or flax seed powder to our diet benefits the colon for complete and clean bowel movements. My question is, does flax seed powder or the seeds themselves promote parasites in the stomach and colon? A few of my friends and I have completed the parasite cleanse and got into a debate about it. Thank you very much, Hotep!

    A:

    Flax seed undoubtedly helps the colon (due to fiberous nature) but it is absurd to think or suggest that flax seeds (in any form) promotes parasites. Meat, dairy, refined grains and other processed foods is what promotes parasites in the stomach, colon, and rest of the body. So, as Public Enemy would say: "Don't believe the hype!"

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: Do you have any advice for one who would like to start a garden. Also, where should I get my seeds, should they be so called organic? What are your thoughts on the upside down planters?

    A:

    I say DO IT! GO FOR IT! Look for organic seeds, perhaps on the Inter-net (organic seeds, organic gardening, etc.) Give the upside down planters a try! Experiment!

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: Hi. There is drink that is known in the Jamaican community as "Woodroot tonic". It is made by sundial. It is said to clean the blood and rid the body of mucus. What is your take on it and can you add anything else to this?

    A:

    Yes, woodroot tonic can be beneficial to cleanse the blood and help eliminate toxins.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I would like to know how I would find a herbalist in my community and also I know all herbs are not good for you how can I find out with are good and with herbs are bad?

    A:

    You will need to check local resources in your city to find an herbalist there. We are in Los Angeles and only know about what's offered on Los Angeles. Visit a herb store, do a google search on herbs, herbalists, etc. What city are you in?

    To find out about herbs, purchase a good book like THE HERB BOOK by John LUST or HOW TO BE YOUR OWN HERBALIST by Linda Page. Go to a major bookstore (Barnes and Noble, Borders) and look in the Natural Medicine/Alternative Medicine/Health section. You'll find plenty of good reading material there.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: How should I eat? Should I eat when hungry or eat every 2 to 3 hours like the bodybuilding community.

    A:

    Only eat when you are hungry!!!!!

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I was curious Dherb.com are you going to make available the crystals and stones you always speaks about on Dherbs.com? I have purchased several items thus far and plan to purchase more kits and regimens in the near future. I have searched for some of these crystals and stones in my local community but have difficulty in selecting the stones or finding them all together.

    A:

    We list great sources and references for crystals and chakras in the Dherbs Alternative Diet and Lifestyle Manual (available on-line). Look under SUGGESTED BOOKS.

    All of our Elixirs are made from crystals and can be purchased on our website. These can be used for healing purposes as well.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I recently went to the hospital and I thought I had the virus in the hospital the nurses were very negative towards me. I was given bad medication and as a result I had all the symptoms of the virus when I left the hospital and I am still testing negative and I feel like they have given me bad meds to try to kill me. I don't look the same every time I drink something that has acid in it, it makes my skin turn red and now when I go out I feel that everyone with the virus know what the hospital has done to me people just laugh knowing that the hospital nurse gave me a HIV cocktail. What can I do? I have been to the doctor numerous times and it seems like every thing I touch has germs and it’s getting inside of my body. I was treated really unfair. Now in the community where I live also.

    A:

    IF THEY DID SLIP YOU A HIV COCKTAIL, HERE'S WHAT I SUGGEST: PERFORM THE FULL BODY DETOX AND DRINK DETOX TEA WHILE DETOXING. YOU SHOULD BE FINE AFTER THIS. FOCUS ON POSITIVE THOUGHTS ONLY. NO NEGATIVE THINKING!

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: My hair has finally started to grow and I have split ends. My hair has started to grow because I have decided to grow my hair naturally. Theses spilt ends are wrecking my nerves. How do I repair them with cutting off about 2&1/2 inches of my hair? I would prefer to use food products.

    A:

    BELIEVE IT OR NOT, SPLIT ENDS REFLECT THE HEALTH OF THE OVARIES. YOUR HAIR TIES IN TO YOUR REPRODUCTIVE AREA. FEED (NOURISH) THE SEX GLANDS. CONSIDER PERFORMING THE TOTAL WOMAN CLEANSE BUT ALSO CONSUMING FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SPECIFIC HERBS (VIA TEA, CAPSULES, OR EXTRACTS) DAILY. TAKE AS MUCH MSM SULFUR AS YOU CAN. THIS IS GREAT FOOD FOR THE HAIR AND KEEPS THE HAIR GROWING. TO FIX SPLIT ENDS, WORK ON YOUR OVARIES.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I read in a health article that Kale may not be the best for people with Gallbladder problems. Is this true, or false? We are taking your Liver and Gallbladder. I works very well. We have started to eat vegan, and raw food diet.

    A:

    Fresh, organic, raw Kale is excellent for the entire body! Eat up and enjoy! Glad you are enjoying our Liver-Gallbladder Formula!

    Article:
    Liver Problems

    Product Links:
    Liver and Gallbladder Formula

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: Thank you so much for doing all that you do. I wish that you were in my everyday life...If I ever come to Cali, I hope to be able to take you up on some of your services. I have given your site out to many people that cross my paths...most recently, a man with diabetes who is going blind. He seemed to be quite thankful for your info...I do hope that he contacts you...and my friend who perhaps has a problem with a parasite(s). But me....okay just waiting for tax refund and then I will hit you up for another full-body detox...and perhaps a parasite kit myself...as it is sad but true..with my current boyfriend careless but kind...I now have a problem with genital herpes...a small breakout every other month...I eat well for the most part...ofcourse it could be better. But the stress is hish...I am working on that. But my question is...would an air purifier do me any good? You see I live in Dundalk, Maryland...near baltimore...near a Steel plant, and a yeast plant, and close to the military practice bombing sites, and other military negative stuff, and the city polluted with car pollution, tons of light pollution, and they spray for mosquitos...then I go to work and I work at a place called ABC Supply...great place right, well the stress is high, and the building we work in is shot...I swear there is mold under the carpets in one of the rooms...the ceiling is constantly leaking and we don't know what from...and the fumes from forklifts and the asphalt from the shingles...the filterfrom the intake gets changed like once a year...but is filled with 'shit' probably in a day or week. So the answer is to get a new job and move...yeah I know...I just don’t know how to do it...or where to go. Since I moved here, I have a problem with my ears...filling up with water or histimine or whatever...usually if I don't drink enough water near my menstrual cycle...I went to a doctor once and basically walked out of the office telling him what to do for his cold...yasee..he was no help...I knew more than him already....these past two years have been bad for allergies. Now, my ears and my throat...my nose too...though I do clean it out with water and that helps. I am not the only one. In the past two years there is a great number of people who say the same thing...they have never had a problem with allergies until these past two years. My grandmother and next door neighbor are two..but many more...well they just started up that steel mill again probably about that time...they sprayed hard core for mosquitos right before my grandmother started having problems...global warming for one...and i dont' know..but two years ago I was involved with a group of people sending out petitions against an LNG liquid natural gas plant that would bring in a ship two times the size of a football field and a huge pipe line to pennsylvania, and a skyscraper of a building to store the gas. Well...we fought against it...but apparently the gas company has more say than our own local government...I don't know...but hear about it every once in a while that they are still trying to get it built. So, an air purifier?? what do you think? Much Love and Health and Thanks!! Peace, RESPONSE: Thank you so very much for your words, Beloved. Much obliged from the heart!

    A:

    In regards to your question: Oh yes! By all means purchase an air purifier or an ozone machine (which will actually be best or better for you). Make sure you detox (FULL BODY DETOX) periodically, consume ACTIVATED CHARCOAL, and take plenty of IODINE PHOSPHATE as sea weed is great for neutralizing the effects of radiation.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I'm 17 years of age and go to a boarding high school in Florida. I just moved here from L.A. Over the summer. I've always been passionate about picking up valuable information that is not taught in schools. Even though I've always gotten good grades in all classes, I have always had a dislike for school. I feel like it is trapping me, because I have very little time to study topics that are truly beneficial such as law, herbs, history and many other topics. I just wanted to give you a brief background image of me; bottom line is this... I want to be part of what you are doing. I know you probably have so many positions filled. And I've never been materialistic and never liked school, but I also understand that if I want to get out in the world on my own right now I need to have a situation where I can make a sufficient amount of money to support myself. So I'm just letting you know I'm very passionate about helping people heal themselves and I would be very committed to what you are trying to accomplish in terms of healing people mentally and physically. I feel so thankful because most people don't get the opportunity to come across TRUE herbalism, TRU history, TRUE law, etc, until they are deep into adulthood, if ever. And I feel like I must fulfill my opportunity starting NOW. Because if I don't, I would be failing the mission I was incarnated here to do. Peace

    A:

    Greetings, Beloved! You have recognized at a very young age that school is a waste of time as measured against the subjects of your heart. Make the time to study the topics of your interest. It's well worth it, Beloved! I did it for many years of my life and when I was out of school and got into knowledge, I spent almost whole days studying the interests of my desires which has led me to the life I am now living. I'm glad I followed my heart. In regards to Dherbs, unfortunately Beloved, I am an Inter-net company only and thus have no positions available. What is your zodiac sign? Maybe we can help you to find work that is suitable to your interests. Your 10th House explains the area's best for you work-wise. Hey, thanks for reaching out, Beloved! One day I would like to employ thousands of people. If you ever want to talk or need advice, give me a call!

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I know your probably busy helping all these lost people out there, so I'm not going to take a lot of time. Could you please refer me to a good Raw food diet book? I've been vegan for a while and trying to make another transformation towards my Original Diet.

    A:

    Please purchase our "ALTERNATIVE HEALTH DIRECTORY" e-book which lists a plethora of vegan and raw foods resources (books, magazines, lists, etc.). It's just what you're looking for.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I just came across this information, and I am VERY CONFUSED! I have recently come into consciousness about my health, origins, spirituality, etc. I am an avid reader of your site, and I am preparing to purchase your Full Body Detox. But, PLEASE TELL ME IF THIS IS TRUE: That on December 31, 2009, we (as a people) cannot buy any herbs, nutrients, without the prescription of a doctor (Codex)? I've been reading many articles, but due to brain overload it's very hard for me to comprehend. Does this mean there will be no more Dherbs.com, or health food stores selling herbs? Also, if you happen to write an article on this can you please let me know about an "urban legend" that there was a "world" meeting among leaders, and Oprah was the only black woman in attendance, and that legislation like Codex was brought into the forefront to decrease the Earth's population. After reading some articles, I could see a connection with this "urban legend", when one stated that Codex could possibly kill 3 billion people. I know you have mentioned it briefly in a Q&A on your site as well as an article on Hybrid Foods, but I am seeking your wisdom and commentary due to your ability to explain in layman's terms. I hope you can answer my questions as myself and many others look to your site for Overstanding.

    A:

    Not true! Don't waste your time worrying about Codex A. Think positive, Beloved! The urban legend is laughable. Many people just like to think negative, so they create negativity in their life. That has nothing to do with Codex A, but their own thinking! You can relax, Beloved!

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: Thank you for always answering my questions. I have about two more. Okay, I'm currently living overseas where I'm limited on raw fresh foods (vegetables and fruits). I want to do the detox but I'm concerned that I won't have everything as far as raw food to be successful. I have access to basics (apples, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, melons, lettuce, cabbage, bean spouts, carrots, celery, peppers, green beans, peas, bagged nuts,) but nothing exotic by any means. Then I was told to safely eat some of the food in the local economy that we should wash it with a 5% bleach solution (is that safe...and if on the detox I'm thinking that would be a no go). Two questions?Given the mentioned availability of raw foods could I be able to successfully complete the detox (I don't have an issue with eating the same things over and over again) and two what can I do to clean local produce so that its safe for consumption? Apparently part of the issue is that they use human feces to fertilize. Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response

    A:

    Yes, it seems you have enough raw food available to you to complete the cleanse.

    In order to clean local produce, rinse thoroughly with apple cider vinegar to "disinfect" it. If apple cider vinegar is unavailable, just use water.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: My question is about hair loss. I am a 45 year old African American female. I started losing my hair about 15 years ago. I specifically remember unusual symptoms before it started to fall out. First, my entire scalp had a burning sensation, and it was very tender to the touch. It was very difficult to brush, comb and wash. Then after that, I am not sure how much longer after, but a dry patch of skin developed toward the back of my head (approximately 1 inch in diameter). I was able to peel it off and pull it through the strains of hair (very weird). That happened a couple of times and not too long after that, my hair started to fall out in large amounts for a fairly long period of time. At the moment I would say that I am mostly bald with hair mostly around the edges. Also I would like to mention that hair started to grow on my chest BUT I started to lose hair in my vaginal area. Sorry if some of this sounds sketchy but it's been 15 years!! I will try to give you a little bit of my history. I am 5'8" and 135lbs. I would say that for the most part, I have been an athlete all my life. My menses were very irregular sometimes and/or absent for long periods of time. When my menses were present, I had very bad cramps and clotting. My menses are now very regular and I hardly have any cramps, my flow is light and very little clotting. I would have to say that it is now a pleasure to have my "period". This also might be a result from switching my diet to a vegetarian diet. I have been a vegetarian for about 16 years. I would say 20% is dairy, but after reading your articles, I am trying my best to become vegan, hopefully even a raw foodist. I also eat tofu. I have never had hair problems growing up. I did get relaxers, but only twice a year. I have had my appendix removed when I was in elementary school. My bowel movements are usually once a day. (I know it needs to be 3.) So anyway, I have been to a couple of medical doctors to no avail, so now I am coming to you. I just received the following products from your company today (10-06-08). I am looking forward to using them. - MSM SULFUR - ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD - COLON FORMULA - HEALING HERBAL TOOTH POWDER - HAIR OIL One last note: I have had maybe one cold in the last 3 years. I can't remember the last time I had the flu. So thank the Lord, my health has been pretty good. Thank you for reading about my situation and hopefully you can shed some light on what is going on with my body.

    A:

    Have you read the 2 health articles on hair ("HAIR PROBLEMS" and "BLACK HAIR, NAPPY HAIR")? If not, please read these articles for remedy and recourse. Also, read our article "SKIN DISORDER = BLOOD DISORDER"."

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I recommend this site to all because it has helped me in so many ways, that I was hoping it may be of help to my 11 year old niece. She is really shy towards others, even at school. To the point where last year, it started affecting her school work. Because, at school you have to interact with others, as well as participate in class. At home with family she's active, sociable, and lot's of fun. When she gets around others she shuts down, believe it or not. I was talking with her mother, my sister and she realized that we was that same way aswell growing up. I don't want her to go through life like that, if there is a way to help her. My sister mentioned pills. Since I have found your site there is no way that I'll have her popping man made pills, when there are herbs that are safe. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I know they have tea I saw for adults (Stress/Anxiety), but for kids I wasn't sure. I need something that will definately work. Thanks for all you do, and look forward to hearing from you.

    A:

    It's probably just a personality thing. However, it's not a sickness. It's more astrological, and personal essence than anything. I would suggest that the child have its natal chart and numerology chart done. Everything about the child is written "In the Wheel."

    Product Links:
    Natal Chart
    Numerology Chart

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: What Is Codex Alimentarius? The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created in 1963 by FAO and WHO to allegedly develop food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practice under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program. The main purposes of this Program allegedly are protecting the health of the consumers and ensuring fair trade practices in the food trade, and promoting coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

    A:

    Will Codex Alimentarius Threaten the Existence of Dherbs? Codex Alimentarius will not and does not threaten the existence of Dherbs.com. At Dherbs.com we don't even worry about Codex Alimentarus. As we believe in and practice the Law of Attraction, we only focus on what we desire, not what we don't desire. Dherbs.com has a very proficient legal department with qualified and skill legal minds. People can protest Codex Alimentarius by writing their elected officials (Congressmen/Senators) with their dissent and also signing petitions to prevent new Codex Alimentarius proposed legislation from being enacted into law. These petitions are usually sent out via e-mail by selected individuals and organizations concerned with medical and health freedom initiatives.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: Hi, I'm a 36 year old African/American woman with 4 children whose been trying to lose weight off and on for the past 16 years. I lose the weight but then I gain it right back after I go off of my diet. I know that I need a good body/colon cleanse, but what I need to learn how to do is to eat the right food's to keep my body healthy. I've been conditioned to eat the foods that I do eat, I need to know how do I go about "de-programming" myself from the bad food's and program myself to want and crave the healthy one's? I'm open to any suggestion's you have, even using crystals and meditation. Thank you.

    A:

    Time is limited here in "Ask the Herbalist" so I humbly request you consider a full length health consultation. However, I can tell you that you'd greatly benefit from a FULL BODY DETOX Cleanse.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: My Doctor wants me to start using the Cholesterol medication, Zocor. He says my high cholesterol is due to genetics. I'm not crazy about the idea of using this medication that he says may affect my liver. I've tried lowering the 'bad' cholesterol with diet and exercise. What are my natural food options? Thanks! After you do the full body detox and want to pursue other cleanses do you have to stay on a raw diet. Can you eat cooked beans or the herbs won’t be as effective? I’m a college student and I need food for thought and sometimes things aren’t accessible.

    A:

    I'd recommend you start taking CHOLESTEROL BUSTER, ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD, and INTESTINAL JANITOR (Fiber). Food-wise, all fruits and vegetables will help lower your cholesterol levels. Avoid meat and dairy products if your cholesterol levels are high.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I know 2 people that have used the full body cleanse and the Anti Viral Kit and are now herpes free. I have recently purchased the Full Body Cleanse as well as the Anti Viral Kit. I started the Full Body Cleanse 2 days ago and I am already starting to have a breakout. Actually it is only my second outbreak ever (I had my first 4 months ago). Is it normal to have an outbreak during the detox this quick? My next question, your food guide says that you can eat raw food only during the detox. Would it be unacceptable to eat sashimi while taking the kit?

    A:

     

    Breakout means healing! The body is discharging via the skin, the largest channel of elimination. Keep up with the cleanse to achieve best results.

    Sashimi is not permitted in a raw foods diet, as it is fish. Read the article WHAT IS RAW FOODS on our site under ARTICLES.

    Additional food recipes are listed in our Alternative Diet and Lifestyle Manual.