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.
We are gearing up for our growing season here at Hidden Villa and are excited to continue our partnership with the Community Services Agency of Mountain View, providing them with consistent deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the summer months. In a November 2013 Los Altos Town Crier article, a CSA of Mountain View client said, "Food is very expensive, so the healthful food that they provide is something I appreciate a lot. It’s really helpful – vegetables, rice, beans, things like that,” he said. “It’s the vegetables I value most.” We are proud to continue this partnership and provide healthy, local, fresh food to our neighbors in the community.
As many of you are aware we are experience a very serious drought throughout California. At Hidden Villa our farm operation uses a shallow well for all of our agricultural water supply. This year we have received 12.5 inches of rain, counting the rain that fell just hours ago. We're hoping that the rain continues to strengthen up our cover crops, an important aspect of organic farming that helps replenish the soil with sufficient amounts of nitrogen. As we continue to prepare for this coming season we see this as an opportunity for you to join us and the Community Services Agency of Mountain View in weathering this drought, together.
We are incredibly grateful for your support and hope that you will rally with us and our farm!
Thanks to generous community supporters like you, the Healthy Food, Healthy Families Program was able to complete another successful year in providing fresh fruits and vegetables to the 4,800 clients of the Community Services Agency located in Mountain View. The Community Services Agency serves low-income residents of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View and 50% of the programs' participants are children and adolescents under the age of 17 or seniors over the age of 65.
This year, Hidden Villa was able to provide 34,716 servings of these fresh fruits and vegetables to the CSA who serves over a ton of food (literally!) each day to it's members, five days a week. “It's good that we can give our clients something really special to bring home with them. Sometimes we run low with fresh vegetables and Hidden Villa helps us a lot to provide that for our clients.” -LaDrea Clark, Food & Nutrition Assistant at the CSA of Mountain View Funding Healthy Food, Healthy Families enables Hidden Villa to grow high quality, fresh organic produce for distribution at the CSA of Mountain View’s Food and Nutrition Center, which is delivered twice weekly throughout the growing season of May to November each year.
Thanks to you, we are able to make fresh food a reality for so many folks in our community.
There is nothing quite like getting your hands into the soil and spending a warm summer morning volunteering with our CSA crew. After going over details of the morning’s tasks, myself and fellow volunteers were directed to rows of melons and tomatoes to begin clearing weeds and as we worked, we learned why this tedious task was so important to keeping our crops productive and healthy. Not only did I get to know the land that I was working on, but I also got to know the people that I was working with. As we continued to zig-zag down each row, I was able to learn a little bit more about our volunteers and what motivates them to come out to Hidden Villa. Whether an employee, volunteer, or visitor, many of us share a common interest to connect with the natural world and feel a sense of responsibility to take care of this space for future generations.
That same week, I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Mountain View Community Services Agency, whom we partner with to provide about 25% of our produce to their Food and Nutrition Center, which is then distributed to over 4,800 low-income residents. I was excited to see first-hand how this figure makes an impact on the community. As I was led back to the Food and Nutrition Center’s distribution area, I instantly recognized our bright yellow bins full of cucumber, kale, squash, fennel and fresh basil. While walking through the different food stations, I was told that members loved coming on produce day because they have never tasted vegetables as good as the ones that come from Hidden Villa. In addition to donated produce, the Food and Nutrition Center also makes sure that the shelves are stocked with staple items such as rice, beans, bread and pasta to offer a balanced diet and easy preparation.
I couldn’t wait to throw on an apron and help out in any way that I could. Stationed at the check-out area, I made sure that baskets were full of the number of items each member was allowed to have and offered any assistance if they had questions about the produce. Not a single person passed through the check-out without a smile on their face and as I smiled back, I could not only see the impact that this partnership has in supporting the local community, but I could feel it. Spending time in the field with our CSA crew and volunteering with the CSA of Mountain View’s Food Bank gave me a great sense of appreciation for the amount of work that many folks contribute toward improving the lives of fellow community members.
"We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest."- Orison Swett Marden
Many thanks to all of you who have supported the continued growth and success of our CSA and partnership with Mountain View through the Healthy Food, Healthy Families program. Each season, we continue to work to meet the needs of community members and provide access to local and organically grown produce. Check out exerpts from an article written by Ellie Van Houtte, featured in the Los Altos Town Crier:
"Hidden Villa maintains a local focus and invests in the community via donations and educational programs. All of its produce is picked up at the farm or delivered within 10 miles of the site, with 25 percent of the harvest donated to the Community Services Agency in Mountain View for distribution to local residents who may not otherwise be able to afford organic, farm-fresh foods."
This year has brought not only a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, but also full membership within our CSA. By donating 25 percent of annual harvest to the CSA of Moutain View, we are also able to provide about 12,500 pounds of fresh produce to low-income community members.
"Hidden Villa’s program is unique in that everything found in the baskets is grown in Los Altos Hills. According to McKenney, the content of members’ baskets reflects the “seasonality of our microclimate” and provides a colorful “snapshot of the season.”
Thoughtful contributions made through GlobalGiving.org have made a deep impact on our local community and ripple throughout the Silicon Valley. Hidden Villa's CSA program and its partnership with Healthy Food, Healthy Families is able to provide over 4,800 community members in the Silicon Valley with fresh fruits and vegetables while also bringing awareness to the importance of local and organically grown food within a community.
Tomorrow (6/12) is bonus day on Global Giving! Global Giving will match each gift made to Hidden Villa at 50%. Check out all of our projects here! We are honored to invite you to partner with Hidden Villa to leverage your dollars and invest in a better tomorrow! No need to make a donation! Foward to your friends and inspire your networks!
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Los Altos Hills,
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