Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) are hosting community members, partners, funders, produce buyers, and members of the press at the Sunol AgPark Field Day, Thursday, May 17th from 9:30 a.m. to noon, at 505 Paloma Way, Sunol. Tour the farm’s 18 acres, relish a taste of the spring harvest, meet the farmers of Baia Nicchia, Iu-Mien Village Farms, Fico and Terra Bella Family Farms, walk the blooming native plant hedgerow, visit the historic Water Temple, and enjoy the beauty of the Sunol Valley while learning about our local foodshed, the AgPark’s hands-on education programs, and its vision for the future.
Sunol AgPark was created in 2006 through an historic partnership between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and SAGE to develop sustainable farming and public education programs on an 18-acre parcel of prime agricultural land in the Alameda Creek watershed. Today, the AgPark is thriving urban-edge farm, home to four small organic farming enterprises. Baia Nicchia specializes in gourmet tomatoes, sweet peppers, squash and herbs, which they sell to top restaurants, wholesalers, and through their unique CSA model “Backer Pick.” They also breed seeds and sell them through partnerships with seed companies. Terra Bella Family Farms sells their harvest of tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, greens, herbs, and summer squash to the 300 members of their CSA, which includes offerings from other local farms and bakeries. Iu-Mien Village Farms grows strawberries that they pick daily at peak fragrant ripeness and sell through retailers in Berkeley and Oakland. Fico, named for the Spanish word for fig, grows specialty figs using traditional techniques in the AgPark orchard and sells to Bay Area restaurants. In harvest season, fresh produce from all the farms is featured at the farm stand directly across the road from the AgPark entrance.
SAGE inspires environmental stewardship in the next generation through hands-on sustainable agriculture education at Sunol AgPark; last year, more than 1,500 students from schools throughout the Bay Area participated. Elementary school field trips follow SAGE’s standards-based Farming in the Watershed curriculum. Middle school students focus on service learning while getting their hands dirty seeding plants, weeding, and harvesting, and the high school program gives underserved youth the opportunity to build leadership and job skills as they design, construct and maintain a native plant hedgerow. “There’s something about being in nature that really puts me in a good mood. I am glad that when people go out [to the AgPark] in the future, they’ll know that high school students planted that hedgerow.” – Student from Kennedy High School, Fremont “Through experiential learning these children gain an understanding of the greater community, environmental stewardship, sustainable farming and watershed protection.” – Carla Schultheis, SFPUC. Future plans for the AgPark include collaboration with the new Alameda Creek Watershed Center, which SFPUC is constructing next to the Water Temple; SAGE is advising on educational programming for the Center. We encourage RSVPs for the Field Day.