San Jose’s first eco-village, with eight business partners working together in a native garden and regenerative farm in the heart of Silicon Valley, is well underway as spring knocks on our door. Read below for everything that’s going on with the eco-village and gardens:
Just to recap, our delightful business partners in this endeavor are:
- Middlebrook Gardens: a design build studio lab specializing in artful, native and ecological gardens
- The California Native Garden Foundation: a public benefit non-profit dedicated to teaching about gardening with natives while reducing CO2, protecting biodiversity and helping solve the nature deficit disorder crisis.
- Mindful Ways: a full service mindfulness program with services for young mothers, children, fathers and families, includingyoga, acupuncture, preschool and private therapy.
- Epic Coffee: A fair trade coffee roasting company
- Good News Wood Salvation: a recycled wood and construction business.
- FACTR: Mindful Aging Project working with immigrant seniors in a serenity garden setting as well as growing healthy food using regenerative farming methods
- ELSEE: A teaching garden where nature and food meet. We offer workshops, class field trips, special events, summer nature camp and Earth Hero’s Nature Badge Program.
- CNGF Nursery: specializing in native plants particularly of our region and food plants used in our regenerative agriculture farms. We also broker difficult to find native plants from all regions of California.
- “Eating California”: opening in 2018 will be the first restaurant of its kind in America. It will be a regenerative farm to table restaurant featuring 200 food plants grown using regenerative farming methods.
This year has proven to be a fruitful and busy one thus far. A number of projects and developments have taken place:
- Mindful Ways, led by Jennifer Jeffcoat, our Human Health and Well Being Director has greatly expanded and improved their facilities.
- They have built a larger animal husbandry area, with lots of room for our chickens and rabbit to scratch and run.
- A preschool play area has been created. Mindful Ways’ ecology based co-op preschool is adding new kids and moms regularly. Homemade sour dough bread baked in our pizza oven has become a pleasant, addictive ritual. And being greeted by toddlers playing in our soils is a wonderful way to start any work day.
- Good News Wood Salvation(GNWS), another partner in our Eco-Village, led by Leo and Ero supplied their beautiful aged recycled wood and helped build Mindful Ways new yoga, meditation and classroom area. Now it is fully insulated for cooler winter nights, with many classes starting to fill up. Here’s a link to MW class schedule.
- Dave Kreimeyer, a CNGF volunteer also used GNWS recycled wood to build four planters which will be used by FACTR:Mindful Aging Project(MAP)for immigrant seniors.
- Our propagation/nursery team, led by Zak Hamash is locating food and medicinal seeds and plants from India, China, Korea, Russia and the Mediterranean areas where many SV immigrants grew up. Many thanks to FACTR’s leader, Karita Hummer, for making MAP happen.
- CNGF will finally get our building permit on March 7 to begin construction of our ADA compliant restroom that will be a requirement for our Eating California restaurant, opening by summer. We received a grant from Santa Clara County for nearly $27k to build an outdoor restaurant at our eco-village.
- The Engineers without Borders Club(EWBSJ) from SJSU is rebuilding our Race St Aquaponics Farm and our Hester School Garden Aquaponics Farm. Five members of the club are beginning a fund raising program so they can accompany other volunteers and myself to Yamoransa Ghana. We will travel in June to construct a storm water catchment that will provide fresh drinking water and irrigation for the regen farms that have been established over the past 5 years by The Green Club of Yamoransa, supported by CNGF with many private contributions! We will soon be submitting our proposal to the Elders Council of Yamoransa.
- Our propagation and nursery management team is planning our regenerative farm teaching laboratory at Race St and Hester School garden sites in anticipation of supplying most of the fruits and veggies for our Eating California restaurant. In addition to adding more native edible plants to our gardens, they will be planting food plants from 5 additional categories, superfoods, drought tolerant foods, nitrogen fixing foods, perennial foods and comfort foods.
- Our goal at both farm gardens is to add 200 food plants that will be served at different times of the year at “Eating California.” Some of the plants we already grow and are serving daily to our preschoolers and moms are tree collards, quail bush, French sorrel, New Zealand spinach, tree mallow, as well as watercress, parsley, chives, and lettuces from our aquaponics farm. In addition, we will continue to grow more natives in our plant community gardens at Race St and the native hedge rows at the Hester Garden.
- Our student engineering team from the Epics Program at SJSU is creating a storm water catchment system that will measure pollutants, clean them and disperse water for irrigation and hand watering. It will be used as a teaching aid for our classes and field trips.
- Five environmental studies majors from SJSU, enrolled in C168 which is a Communications Department Community Action Project where students directly tackle a real solution to global warming, have all chosen to learn to be regenerative farmers this semester and develop a draft curriculum for other future students. We will be meeting each Saturday morning at 9 am at Hester Garden if any one wants to join us!
Here is a list of calendar events coming up!
March 17 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nature Camp Open House
March 17 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Middlebrook Gardens Open House
CNGF Nursery will be open on March 17th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 18 College intern mixer inviting SJSU and SCU students to a social event with pizza and drinks 12-3 pm post St Pat’s Day Green Celebration
April 8 Grand opening of CNGF nursery
Watch for additional blasts and social media posts. Look for posters in your neighborhood
Announcing more details for all of our events in March.