Urban Farm

A few ideas for the future of San Luis Obispo City Agricultural Development at Calle Joaquin

A.    This project has many potential benefits

  1. It can produce healthy nourishing food for local consumption with minimal energy and water consumption.  The soil is excellent, the water is on site, the market is nearby.
  2. It can provide both a learning experience and employment for farmers, a valuable profession in decline for 50 years but now beginning to revive.
  3. It can serve as site for education about local history and sustainable food systems and for recreation.
  4. It can serve as a wildlife preserve for butterflies, birds and beneficial soil organisms.
  5. It can contribute to the worldwide movement for sustainable agriculture, healthy eating, and stronger local communities.
  6. It can bring fame, fortune and foundation support to the City of San Luis Obispo.
  7. It can provide retraining and employment for people who need it as agricultural and hospitality service workers.

B.    The site has many advantages:

  1. Proximity to commercial and residential areas and a huge volume of freeway traffic that will allow for easy publicity of successful development, assuming that poisons are not used.
  2. Proximity to Laguna Lake Park, which already attracts recreational uses which could be linked”e.g. hiking and equestrian trails, wildlife habitat, views of mountains and valley
  3. A varied set of present uses and resources that fit well together for potential development, e.g.
  4. Historic barn and farmhouse”for education center and livestock facilities to be used by public and 4H, Cal Poly Ag Education program, local schools
  5. Creek and tributary riparian areas”for pleasant landscape and riparian uses
  6. Heritage Eucalpytus grove for wildlife habitat and park
  7. Enough class one soil for a variety of sustainable agriculture uses, including leasing to local farmers or coops, e.g. New Frontiers, Cal Poly Organic Farm, Central Coast Ag Coop, community allotment gardens, Non-profits like Growing Grounds

C.    Priorities

  1. I believe making a significant portion of this land financially viable as source of local food production is highest priority. Potential for longer term leasing, easy access to water and distribution outlets and a history of successful cultivation could allow for both profitability and a pricing structure making access to organic produce, including perhaps poultry, dairy and eggs, available to lower income customers.  Linkage with local Food Stamp and Food Bank and School Lunch programs could be encouraged.
  2. Education is a second priority.  The present existence of Ag Education programs in County schools and at Cal Poly promises extensive use of this potential.
  3. Recreation and tourism.  Places like Fairview Farms, Avila Barn, the original Knott’s Berry Farm, demonstrate the potential in this area.

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