Urban Tilth

Urban Tilth cultivates agriculture in west Contra Costa County to help our community build a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system. We work with schools, community-based organizations, government agencies, businesses, and individuals to develop the capacity to produce 5% of our own food supply. We believe that environmental restoration is inextricably connected to economic and social restoration.
Jun 10, 2014

Practical exams another year end at Richmond High!

Students practicing mindfulness at the farm
Students practicing mindfulness at the farm

 

At this time of year, every year we close a cycle of learning and growing together with that year's 40 Richmond High Urban Agriculture students. It is a bittersweet time of memory and goodbyes. Here is a log of the past 2 months and final days of this year's course. 

 

April 23, 2014

It is the final quarter of the school year at the Richmond High Urban Agriculture Course! ~Tear~

As with any ending, It is important to provide the opportunity for people to remember, and exemplify the many lessons they have learned over the course of the school year!

Enter.. The Urban Agriculture Practical Exam

For the next two months, our 40 students are placed into groups of 4-5, and are bestowed 170 square feet of planting space to care for per group, and additionally a "side task" (examples: compost generation, greenhouse production, fruit tree maintenance, native plant propagation, etc).

Students begin each week with clipboards in hand, putting their powers of Protracted and Thought Observation to work recording down observations of crop health, moisture levels in the beds, and necessary tasks and materials needed for the rest of the week. Students are then responsible for manifesting the needs of their planting space and side task for the rest of the week, with minimal instruction.

This, of course, culminates in a weekly celebration of a job well done with Food Fridays!

Grading is based upon team work, documentation of observations, tasks, and materials, as well as group's ability to complete the tasks they have committed themselves to. 

Let The Games Begin!!! 

 

May 2, 2014 

The Richmond High School Urban Agriculture Course has completed the third week of their Final Practical Exam! Yay!

Students have really begun discovering a flow to their week, and it is truly inspiring to be able to take a step back, minimize instruction, and just watch how well everyone is growing!

We closed the week the combination five crops grown by our students: Lacinato Kale, Valencia Onions, California Early White Garlic, Nantes Carrots, and Slow Bolt CIlantro. 

The resulting Kale Salad, with a squirt of Meyer Lemon Juice and a smidgen of Parmesan Cheese, was the perfect end to a beautiful week of GROWING OUR OWN!

Stay tuned for more updates from the Richmond High Urban Agriculture Course!

 

June 6, 2014

Congratulations Richmond High School Class of 2014!!!

We ended the Urban Agriculture Course course this year with a 20 minute meditation out at the farm, a reflection, and post class survey...so proud of everyone in the course, ya'll grew so much over the past year!!

Students practicing their powers of mindfulness and meditation out at the farm. Starting with a 1 minute meditation months ago, students are now able to perform mindful breathing and meditation for over 20 minutes.


"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” 
- Masanobu Fukuoka

 

When asked... "What did you like about this course?" Here are what a few students had to say:

  • “What I liked the most about this course was that I learned what healthy veggies are good to eat, and what foods are bad for you”
  • “I liked learning how to plant, and learning about and eating different types of healthy organic food”
  • “What I liked about this course was that I could relax and be outside doing things like seeding, or transplanting.”
  • “I liked that we were outside!”
  • “I liked being able to have a class outside where we helped grow crops.”
  • “What I liked about this course is going outside, hands on activity, growing food, learning a lot about planting that I didn’t know before. Great teachers. Environment friendly.”
  • “I like the fact that you can help the world and make life by planting things. This was a fun course and made me a better person who is further more connected with nature.”
  • “I like going outside and taking my time planting, and smelling fresh air.”
  • “I like that this course teaches us about our health and that we get to cook healthy food.”
  • “I liked that I learned to make healthy choices with food.”
  • “What I liked most about the course is that it taught me to realize that everything needs to be taken care of, and that’s a good lesson on my part.”
  • “The course was fun, I learned new things and met new people. Going outside was my favorite.”
  • “I like that we were outside a lot enjoying nature, and helping her out by planting different plants.”
  • “ I liked that we got to grow our own food and cook it!”
  • “I like that we got to create our own resources to make food for ourselves, I would recommend students to take this course because you realize what it takes to grow food.”
  • “I enjoyed this class because we go outside in nature and don’t have to stay inside the whole time. Also, in the end of the week we get rewarded with cooking the food we grow!”
  • “I liked cooking and learning about the industrial food system. I appreciate all of the stuff you taught me, and the food. I didn’t think I was going to like this class in the beginning of the year, but I really enjoyed being here.”
  • “I liked how we use our hands and experience how to plant, transplant, cook, and water plants correctly.”
  • “I liked learning new things and learning to grow my own food and it made me realize a lot of things that are going on in the world.”
  • “What I like about this course that it helped me learn about the food I should be eating and change the way I eat now.”
  • “I liked how we learned about planting, don’t change anything about this course, I think this is a great class.”

 

As we close the school year, the Summer Apprentice Prorgam begins... follow along as we go deeper into Urban Agriculture with 40 new youth on a 6week intensive adventure!

More soon...

Practical exams begin!
Practical exams begin!
99 lbs of onions harvest last month from Richmond!
99 lbs of onions harvest last month from Richmond!
Students taking onions home to their families!
Students taking onions home to their families!
Nay Nay taking the opportunity to secure our tomat
Nay Nay taking the opportunity to secure our tomat
Cultivating potatoes
Cultivating potatoes

Links:

Jan 30, 2014

A new Semester, Cooking and Growing Together!

 

“If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children. ”

 

-Confucious

 

 

This past Fall-Winter at the Richmond High School Urban Agriculture Course, 30 Richmond High Students embarked on a semester long journey to understand where our food comes from, how it is produced, and how to grow it ourselves!

With lesson plans ranging from organic farming, composting, the soil food web, to industrial agriculture, human nutrition, and diet related diseases, these students received healthy portions of life sustaining knowledge and healthy portions of garden fresh meals!!
Our friday cooking classes are particularly popular amongst students, with enough food for 30+ students cooked by students in under an hour. Our meals this past Fall ranged from pesto's, and tomato sauces in the summer, to kale, carrot, and beet veggie stir fry dishes over brown rice in the Fall, and now fresh spinach salads, broccoli, and green onions saute'd over rice, YUM.
Teaching students how to prepare food with healthy, fresh vegetable ingredients gives them the opportunity and know how to cook these meals with their famlies at home, which most of them do!
RHS Urban Agriculture Students, of their own will, even juicing RAW BULLS BLOOD BEETS... once i told them about the brain blood vessel expanding properties of Beets... they couldn't get enoughl!!  I tried to add carrots and they said "Naw Mr. B we just want that raw Beet!" haha, and we thought I had seen it all!
Stay tuned for winter time updates from the Richmond High School Urban Agriculture Course!

 

Links:

Oct 25, 2013

Fall 2013: Exploring Nature's Systems of Abundance

Harvest 2013
Harvest 2013

Over the past three months at the Richmond High School Urban Agriculture Institute, 33 new students have been immersed in a diverse curriculum centered around seasonal organic food production, mindfulness, and self mastery. Starting from seeds, these students learn how to grow food, themselves, and the greater Richmond High School Community. 

So far this semester, students have learned about the connectivity of nature and how organic agriculture utilizes nature's systems of abundance to generate nutrient dense food while healing and providing nourishment for our earth's precious and delicate soil systems. 

But its not all beauty and harmony, students are also taught about the dominant paradigm of agriculture in the United States, Industrial Agriculture. Students are taught about how population growth, demand and capitalism fuel the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, factory farms, CAFOs, and the development of GMOs. Analyzing both industrial and organic agriculture, students can see, taste, and experience for themselves the marked distinctions between these two systems, and make informed healthy decisions in their own eating habits.
Looking forward, over the next few months, we will begin a survey of diet related diseases, human nutrition, native plant propagation and of course winter fruit tree care.

Stay tuned for more updates from Urban Tilth's Urban Agriculture Institute at Richmond High School!
Cover cropping
Cover cropping
Clearing beds of summer crops
Clearing beds of summer crops
Potato Havest
Potato Havest
Making Pesto!
Making Pesto!
Prepping for Friday Garden Lunch
Prepping for Friday Garden Lunch
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