Urban Tilth's Urban Agriculture Institute

by Urban Tilth
Broc 2014
Broc 2014
What Is Your Relationship To The Food You Eat?

The first semester of the Urban Agriculture Course at Richmond High School is designed to instill a deeper sense of connection to our food, 
our selves, and in our case the Rich(mond) Earth from which both are grown.

The past 4 months have brought students through a curriculum divided into both inside and outside of the classroom activity. Indoor, conceptual lessons and discussions on organic agriculture, industrial agriculture, and human nutrition were balanced out with outdoor hands on lessons in seasonally distinct organic food production techniques including propagation, composting, soil cultivation, harvesting, plant spacing, cover cropping, crop rotation, and pest management. The outdoor practices of course culminate into our year round seasonal organic food production out of the Richmond High Garden! 

What do we do with all of this food you ask? This semester we managed to cook over 16 different garden fresh meals, each with distinct recipes. That’s right, the family that eats together weeds together! Every week students have the opportunity to participate in the preparation and cooking of a large scale garden fresh meal for 30! Each meal is of course made with ingredients grown straight from the Richmond High garden. 

How do we accomplish all of this?? Gotta give credit to this class, over the course of the semester these students have become committed practitioners of mindful meditation, beginning each day with a 5 minute meditation that focuses their minds on the tasks at hand each day, including bringing their best selves, no use of cell phones, and most importantly being present with each other. By limiting distractions and focusing students in, our class is better able to master themselves and therefore their actions, allowing the Urban Agriculture Class of 2015 to accomplish learning, growing food, and growing themselves all at the same time!

Stay tuned for news from Semester 2 of Urban Agriculture at Richmond High School!
Mr Gade leading class on crop covers
Mr Gade leading class on crop covers
Preparing a meal in the garden!
Preparing a meal in the garden!
Harvesting for lunch
Harvesting for lunch
Eating what we cook!
Eating what we cook!
Growing together
Growing together

Links:

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:

 

“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:

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
Making Pedal Powered Smoothies ALL fruit smoothies
Making Pedal Powered Smoothies ALL fruit smoothies

After another phenomenal school year of the Richmond High Urban Ag Institute comes to an end we say goodbye to our 6th group of amazing students who spent 10 months together learning, cooking and growing together. Over 5000lbs of fresh organic produce, hundreds of plant starts and thousands of seeds were grown and collected and distributed to Richmond families by the class of 2013!

This class also created the 1st ever student grown and run salad bar as a creative protest to the lack of healthy food offered in the cafeteria. They SOLD OUT all of the salad greens they grew and ALL of the fresh garden grown lemonade to over 100 students debunking the idea that youth will not eat healthy food. Not only did they line up to eat it, they also PAID for it and urged the garden club to do it again. We look forward to a time when growing salad greens and other ingredients for the school supported and student run salad bar is an accepted and supported institution at Richmond High!

Until then we thank the trailblazers of 2013!

We also vow to continue moving towards this dream until it is a reality.

Summer Begins!

Welcome to the 5th Annual Summer Apprentice Program!

Monday, July 15, 2013 was the 1st day of this year's Summer Apprentice Program! 

At 9:00am the cohort of 2013 gathered for the first time at the Richmond Civic Center for Orientation. Meeting each other, making animal sounds, doing icebreakers finding out which crew of 8 youth they will spend the summer with. Over the course of the next 6 weeks, the lives of these new 40 youth will be changed. They will dive deep together, learning about the natural world, about the care needed to grow things, anything, not just food, well.

We look forward to taking you on this journey with us! 

Please stay tuned for weekly updates from this summer program.

GROW YOUR OWN!

RHS Class of 2013
RHS Class of 2013
Enjoying the HARVEST!
Enjoying the HARVEST!
Student Run Salad Bar
Student Run Salad Bar
Posing by the 1st Cherries on our Cherry Tree
Posing by the 1st Cherries on our Cherry Tree
Summer Apprentice Program 2013 begins!
Summer Apprentice Program 2013 begins!

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Urban Tilth

Location: Richmond, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.urbantilth.org
Urban Tilth
Project Leader:
Doria Robinson
Executive Director
Richmond, CA United States

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