Los Angeles – The community farm Veggielution in San Jose, California, is an agriculture project begun to educate local residents about how to plant crops in urban areas and harvest fresh vegetables from their own gardens.
"Everything we eat comes from the earth; but there are children in the U.S. who think that vegetables come from the lighted display cases in the supermarkets and that eggs are produced by refrigerators," Colombian immigrant, Yonara Acevedo, Veggielution's education coordinator, told Efe.
"The people in cities have lost their connection with the earth, so Veggielution was created which is a two-acre community farm where people come with their kids to plant, harvest and even learn how to cook seasonal vegetables," she said.
Created in 2004 by students from San Jose State University, the Veggielution project began as a volunteer effort to cultivate different types of vegetables for family consumption.
Thanks to individual donations and the proceeds of sales in community markets, Veggielution now has three full-time paid employees and four part-timers to attend to about 2,000 people in San Jose.
"Whole families come to this community farm ... (and) the kids get the seeds with their own hands, plant them with their own hands until the plant grows from which later they remove the vegetables that they can eat," Acevedo said.
"Kids (learn) ... that a carrot grows underground, an onion also and that ears of corn grow above ground on really large stalks," she said.
Acevedo, who earned a degree in agricultural management from St. Thomas Aquinas University in Bucaramanga, Colombia, nowadays devotes herself to inviting Hispanics to join the farm where Latinos make up 20 percent of the participants.
"At Veggielution we also have chickens and the children along with their parents gather the eggs and so they learn that the eggs are laid by the chickens," Acevedo said.
"We sell the seasonal products from the farm on Fridays at the farmers market in San Jose and on Saturdays we sell them at the farm," she said.
Veronica Gomez and her two children make the 15-minute walk to the farm every Thursday to participate in the various activities there.
"Doing this work is good for the children because they learn to do everything that someone learned there, on the land, in Jalisco (Mexico)," the 33-year-old Gomez told Efe.
"My kids love it. I think they feel it's like a park where they planted celery and carrots," she added.
Mexican-born Ester Valiente, 57, told Efe that the project is interesting and healthy "because on the farm you can pick your own vegetables from the (plant) and you know that everything is fresh."
Guadalupe Perez is a Veggielution representative who is coordinating the efforts of a group of parents from Cesar Chavez Elementary School to create a vegetable garden on the school grounds.