We currently grow a number of high quality seasonal vegetables, culinary herbs and teas at the Homegirl Mini Farm, Solano Gardens, FarmLab, and a school garden at Dolores mission, where Homegirls lead weekly gardening classes with elementary school students. It is our goal to provide as much as 50% of the bulk produce and herbs used by Homegirl Café & Catering and Homeboy Bakery by the end of this training year! By composting almost 100% of our food waste, using only vegetable based plastics, unbleached paper products and by constantly improving our recycling program, we aim to be a leader in sustainable restaurant practices and the evolving urban food movement.
Our vision is strengthened by community partners including Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, Metabolic Studio, Farmworks LA, Milagro-Allegro Community Garden, Dolores Mission Elementary School, Urban Farming, Woolly Pockets and the UC Cooperative Extension.
The goals of implementing an extensive urban farming program as an introduction to café employment are to:
1. Provide a solid connection between the process of growing food and restaurant operations.
2. Increase organic produce production and sustainability for Homegirl Café and Catering and Homeboy Bakery.
3. Enhance culinary practices and café fare through seasonal menu planning.
4. Improve the nutritional habits of employees and their families through garden-based curriculum and agriculture education.
5. Collaborate with local schools to enhance learning and healthy habits through garden education.
6. Utilize horticulture therapy as a means of healthy development and successful reintegration during the parole or probationary period.
7. Establish a viable business and revenue source through garden retail products, edible landscaping and garden maintenance.
8. Provide agricultural job training that can be connected to long term ‘green job’ employment opportunities.
9. Increase the representation of underserved communities in the local food movement and regional food jobs.
10. Play a role in expanding awareness of urban food production for Los Angeles residents through gardening workshops, cooking demonstrations, farm to table events, backyard grower circles and edible landscaping services.
Addressing larger issues of poverty, grocery deserts and obesity is an important component of our urban agriculture effort. As a contributing member of the LA Food Policy Task Force working group, Homegirl Café is constantly seeking ways improve access to local, organic and healthy food for all. Concretely, we seek to empower vulnerable communities through gardening workshops, cooking demonstrations and resources for at risk communities.