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 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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Apr 24, 2014

High School Aged Youth Learn to Farm

Rinsing Carrots for Shareboxes
Rinsing Carrots for Shareboxes

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This is a proverb perfectly mirrors the experience that high-school aged youth get when they participate in Hidden Villa’s summer camp program, Farm Academy. This 3 or 6 week apprenticeship combines field-based instruction with hands-on experience in sustainable organic farming. Working alongside the Hidden Villa agriculture team participants are exposed to progressive food production practices and philosophies. They learn about irrigation techniques, the science of soil, pest, and disease management, as well as environmental and social issues in agriculture.

“In school we learn biology, physics, chemistry, but not much about agriculture. At Farm Academy we’re learning where our food comes from, which is important because everyone has to eat. You can go to school all your life without knowing where your meat or vegetables come from. We see how much work it takes and understand why there are people that are standing up for farmworker rights.” – 2013 Farm Academy Participant.

Gaining the skills and experience in farming techniques is an important aspect to Farm Academy, but equally important is recognizing the way that food brings us together. Participants harvest and cook for a weekly potluck, bringing together volunteers, staff, and community members. They prepare and harvest for weekly Community Supported Agriculture shareboxes, donations to the Community Services Agency of Mountain View, and for the Los Altos Farmer’s Market. Farm Academy participants see the full cycle of the season from farm, to market and table.

We are excited for our upcoming Farm Academy and feel privileged to be teaching young people to grow food, for themselves and others for a lifetime.

Helping at Farmer
Helping at Farmer's Market with Farm Interns

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