Hidden Villa

Hidden Villa's mission is to inspire a just and sustainable future through our programs, land and legacy. As part of Hidden Villa's commitment to social justice, we provide over $350,000 on scholarship and partnership support. Guiding Principles We deliver a wide variety of relevant educational experiences that teach respect for the environment and for each other. We encourage program participation from diverse communities. We engage diverse voices of the community in the design, implementation, delivery, and evaluation of programs and services. We build alliances, internally and externally, between people, programs, and diverse communities to optimize resources and deepen our impact. W...
Jul 19, 2014

Summer Camp Grows Leaders and Change-Makers

Seth leading 2013 ACT participants in chores
Seth leading 2013 ACT participants in chores

Hidden Villa Summer Camp is known to bring diverse campers together to enjoy all kinds of exciting activities on the farm and in our wilderness area. In the midst of song-singing, food-harvesting, or cow-milking, something profound happens between campers. But the experience ripples beyond the campers to the Summer Camp counselors. These young people are introduced to a toolkit of communication skills, curriculum development abilites and leadership opportunities. The way that camp is set-up allows campers to transition into Assistant Counselors in Training (ACT), and then on to serve as counselors. Seth and Keili are great examples of the way that Hidden Villa summer camp is creating leaders of all ages.


Kinder Camp is Hidden Villa's newest offering and engages the youngest generation of earth stewards in hands-on fun with the farm and the natural world. Seth is the perfect fit for guiding leaders of tomorrow as the Program Head for Kinder Camp. He brings 17 years of Hidden Villa summer camp experience as both a camper and counselor and knows how to boogie on down to a good camp song. Seth is also training new camp counselors and shaping the program to hold true to Hidden Villa Summer Camp values: environment, family, diversity, farm & food, and identity. “We believe that sharing these values will help encourage the cultivation of empathy. I’m excited to build the foundation for Kinder Camp and watch the kids come back year after year.”

Keili first came to Hidden Villa summer camp at the age of 8. She is now 22 and the Program Head for Residential Summer Camp. That kind of dedication has earned her the honored "lifer" title here at Hidden Villa.“HV Summer Camp always felt like home to me, and I loved that the counselors created a safe space for us to be ourselves. That is what inspired me to be a counselor and now the Program Head for Residential Camp. It makes me happy to know that my family is creating our own legacy here: I first came here on scholarship and now my parents donate to the scholarship fund to share this place.  Plus, my two younger siblings are in Kinder Camp and Day Camp this summer.”

We're happy to have such great leaders on our summer camp staff team and we appreciate your support in collaborating with us to make it all possible.

Keili facilitating a reflection in the wilderness
Keili facilitating a reflection in the wilderness

Links:

Jul 7, 2014

How Our Farmers are Responding to Changes

Pattypan Squash!
Pattypan Squash!

The most successful growing strategies and the best farming practices are ones that are adaptable. As much as an engineering mindset can project into scaling up operations to larger sizes with greater assumptions of efficiency, the reality of agriculture is that we are producing food in a dynamic and ever-changing environment that will never conform to a single, uniform, repeatable method for very long. I feel grateful for practicing a kind of farming that does not rely too heavily on assumptions about weather and climate, pest control, and disease problems. Invariably things change and the assumptions lead to enormous crop losses. 

Here we are in the midst of a very serious drought and we have ever-increasing evidence that our climate is in the process of changing into a hotter, drier and less predictable one. While the predictions about the effects upon agriculture are stark I would like to suggest that our choices to buy and support smaller-scale, localized organic food are both an antidote to CO2 intensive conventional agriculture and the exact kind of methods most capable of weathering the coming changes.
Small-scale farming involves growing methods that require minimal initial investment, have a planting model that uses a more resilient diversity of crop varieties, and because of their small size are capable of making decisions and changes that turn the production on a dime into something more appropriate. Small-scale organic farms typically rely upon cover crops for generating fertility and this practice yields a CO2 sequestering solar powered base of nutrients. This combined with less energy intensive packing, storage and distribution systems make this kind of farming the greenest way to eat.
As a small farm operating for our local community and neighbors that frequent the Community Services Agency of Mountain View, we are thankful for your continued support.
Farm Crew in the Fields
Farm Crew in the Fields
May 9, 2014

A School Year to Remember!

Creating Safe Space to Connect and Reflect
Creating Safe Space to Connect and Reflect

The school year is winding down and our last program is coming up this week. It will be a three day, two night retreat for a middle school from San Francisco. These are always exciting opportunities to truly build relationships with the youth, get them out on hikes, make garden burritos from the education garden, strengthen their compassion muscles, and connect to our natural world. What a great way to end this school year!

Our Youth Development intern, who comes to the end of her time here at Hidden Villa in the coming weeks, speaks to some of the work that she has experienced: We challenge our youth through teaching them wilderness survival skills and team-building, both on the high ropes course and on the ground initiatives. Through engaged discussion of hidden food costs, including unjust treatment of farmworkers and inaccessibility of healthy foods for all, students learn about relevant issues of justice around the United States as well as food deserts in their own communities. Many come to recognize their power to create change as consumers and future voters.

It is Youth Development’s hope that after youth leave this land, they walk away having learned something new and also feeling empowered to create change in their own lives and communities.

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