A 4.9-acre work-training and educational urban farm located under the 60 Freeway in South El Monte; a food desert and one of the most impoverished areas in the U.S.
If you’re this close to LA you better have Kale or there’s gonna be a riot.
Earthworks Farm sits on land that’s owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased to the County of Los Angeles, Department of Parks and Recreation.
Just as South El Monte’s demography reflects a mix of cultures and ethnicities, the farm grows a variety of produce, including Mexican and Asian crops.
Produce is available to the community via donation and, for a nominal monthly fee, through the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. With CSA, participants can receive a fresh box of produce a week.
Marianne Zaugg, Earthworks’ farm program and development director, who has past experience in health and wellness coaching, believes that the more holistically you can eat, the better your body and mind will function.
One of the farms missions is to help El Monte and South El Monte move away from being a food desert and focus more on healthy eating and active living.
Earthworks Farm has collaborated with a number of organizations in furthering its mission. They worked with nonprofit TreePeople on a planting event and provided special dishes made from produce harvested from the farm that morning. They also reach out to local restaurants via their farm-to-table program, where they offer organic produce for chefs.
Education is also an important component.
It offers a six-week program called Healthy Harvesters that teaches high school students the skills needed in organic farming.
As our tour ended, we came across odd hairless creature that had just been caught by one of the volunteers.
Was it a gopher with mange, an exotic hamster or something else? That question remained unanswered as we said goodbye to Marianne Zaugg and the farm.