Create Change We strive to be a vital hub of support for a network of people, places, and solutions that support changes in our food system, health, and environment.
Empower to Grow We create local sustainable farms, gardens and integrative educational programs will empower youth and adults to grow food and Community
Build Community We inspire the formation of communities dedicated to healthy living and environmental responsibility.
= COMMUNITY IS OUR #1 CROP
Food issues affect everyone
RFEI – indicates there are more than four times as many fast-food restaurants and convenience stores as supermarkets and produce vendors.
Less than 3% of food is produced here: We advocate preserving a minimum threshold and relationship between local food production and our health and security. Full Circle Farm is a vital step in the right direction.
Food prices in Silicon Valley up 34%
Healthy Food Access = 19%
Not So Healthy Food Access = 81%
NEED APPROACH THAT ADDRESSES CONCENTRATIONS OF POVERTY AS WELL DISPERSED POVERTY (Where most poor people are) There is a need for solutions that address pockets of poverty AND also provide solutions that benefit the entire region
SOLUTIONS THAT WORK FOR EVERYONE Although food related issues are felt more acutely in low-income communities, effective food system solutions can benefit everyone (e.g. Farmers’ Markets, CSAs, School & Community Gardens, etc.)
NEW FACE OF POVERTY – IS FACELESS – ALMOST INVISIBLE Look around your own neighborhoods. Do you see poverty creeping in? Some of your neighbors might be among the new, growing pool of people who are living on the edge of poverty, or slipping into it. For many, healthy food becomes a lower priority after housing, transportation, and health care.
YOU ARE THE FOOD SYSTEM – CONSUMERS STILL DRIVE THE FOOD SYSTEM – We can’t blame it all on big conspiracy. We need food consumers that are responsible and a food system that is responsive. The shift from being a consumer to being a producer is a key part of the equation. Ultimately, YOU must participate in the food system – food system change for it to work.
What is Urban Agriculture?
Field answers and fill in gaps.
See samples on table!
IT’S COMPLICATED Food issues are complicated and involve education, energy, environment, health, and community…and require us to make choices on a personal, community-wide, and global level. These choices impact both our health and environment.
WE NEED CROSS-CUTTING STRATEGIES Education strategies need to cross generations—and target whole communities with teaching environments without walls, and hands-on learning that is relevant, integrated, practical, & situational.
TAKE IT HOME Our community-based education gardens are a shining example of how we accomplish this. These gardens provide a place where people of all ages in the community come to learn hands-on how to garden. Many of our volunteers now garden at home, putting their Full Circle Farm experiences to work. Highly efficient food production happens in home-scale gardens where transportation from field to kitchen is measured in steps. Hundreds of middle school through high school students come to the garden to do community service learning and volunteering.
WHY LOCAL? Locally grown food is good for the environment, and uses less energy. A typical carrot has to travel 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table. Farmers currently get 20% of food dollar, 80% of food dollar is for transportation, energy and other costs.
Some might argue that that further humans step away from agriculture, the less civilized we become! In larger communities numbering in the thousands, social stratification increased and trade became critical to the communities' survival. Two of the earliest of these large communities were located at Jericho in Palestine and Catal Huyuk in Turkey.
Civilization began with agriculture. When our nomadic ancestors began to settle and grow their own food, human society was forever changed. Not only did villages, towns and cities begin to flourish, but so did knowledge, the arts and the technological sciences. And for most of history, society's connection to the land was intimate. Human communities, no matter how sophisticated, could not ignore the importance of agriculture. To be far from dependable sources of food was to risk malnutrition and starvation. In modern times, however, many in the urban world have forgotten this fundamental connection. Insulated by the apparent abundance of food that has come from new technologies for the growing, transportation and storage of food, humanity's fundamental dependence on agriculture is often overlooked. Full Circle Farm presents an important opportunity to reconsider the fundamental importance of agriculture - and the degree to which the global and independent nature of human society today requires a re-thinking of our attitudes and approaches to world food production and distribution.
We are taking Urban Agriculture to the next level – I call it “Über Agriculture”
We are interested in how urban agriculture can make significant contributions to global food production.
Urban Agriculture is no longer just a marginal activity is worthy of serious study. (Urban Agriculture Institute)
The Victory Garden (nationwide urban agriculture) movement during WWII is one great historical example – 11 departments of the U.S. Military supported that effort and it was considered a vital strategy to winning the war.
BHIUA – Biologically & Human Intensive Urban Agriculture MRBS – Modified Raised Bed System RCW – Ramial Chipped Wood MUF – Master Urban Farmer
STUDENTS Santa Clara Unified School District (14,000 students), Sunnyvale School District (6700 students), private schools, etc. Peterson Middle School , and several other educational facilities are adjacent to farm. In these districts, 40+% of students qualify for free or reduced meals.
PATIENTS Full Circle Farm is working with Kaiser Permanente to focus on the needs of the Sunnyvale Columbia Neighborhood – serving 3500 low-income families.
GARDENERS Charles Street Gardens, a project of Sustainable Community Gardens, serves 90 gardeners with a waiting list over 100 people.
FAMILIES, LOW-INCOME In Santa Clara County, 25 percent of families do not meet the self-sufficiency standard, according to United Way of Silicon Valley
FOOD INSECURITY ON THE RISE Healthy food access and food security issues are not isolated to pockets of poverty in SV; these issues now concern most communities. Food insecurity is on the rise, approaching 100,000 people in Silicon Valley
Thank you for inviting me here today.
I’m Wolfram Alderson, Executive Director for Full Circle Farm. Several decades ago, I was hired to organize the first farmers’ markets and the first regional urban agriculture program in Los Angeles. All these years later, my passion continues to be directed toward food system change and I have the good fortune to do this now in the heart of silicon valley. Today, I’m here to talk about the partnership between NVIDIA and FCF and why we are doing this work that will result in a transformation of FCF.
Creating a productive, scalable, and replicable model for community based food production will enable similar projects in Silicon Valley to build upon our success, and use our facility as learning center.
This farm transformation will enable us to engage many thousands more volunteers and community members from throughout Silicon Valley, establishing Full Circle Farm as a destination point and place of regeneration and learning for young people and their families.
The project also offers an exciting hands-on opportunity for NVIDIA employees to transform Full Circle Farm into the most productive operation of its kind in the Bay Area
Full Circle Farm is unique in that it embodies many elements of urban agriculture:
5 acres Vegetable production
3 acres fruit production
1 acre community garden
Free range chickens
Year round Farm Stand, CSA for 100 members / Intuitional & Restaurant Sales
Education, tours, workshops and classes on a year round basis
There is no established funding stream for urban agriculture, garden based learning, sustainable community gardens, etc.
Our development of earned income is essential to our survival.
50% Earned income is great from a nonprofit perspective.
This is important and appealing to funders and donors who like to give to an organization that is self-reliant, and earned income allows us more flexibility in our budget (versus restricted funds).
Experience Concrete Experiences, Integrated Experiences, Real Life Experiences, Year Round Experiences “Multiple Exposures” First Exposure: Carrots don’t grow on trees Only Exposure? Lack of fresh fruits & veges in diet Purposeful activity (growing food) vs. “dieting,” “exercise,” or “interventions” Discovery & magic here: engaging, enticing, voluntary Place Being There Scalable & Replicable Transformation Space Genius of Place Place of Rescue Community Keeping it Real Connection to community, healthy food Food Security is an issue that affects everyone Re-Learning; Re-Connecting Contexts: Local and Cultural Fellowship, Common Ground Sustainability Sustainable: Think Green. Think Growing Healthy and Strong Integrative, Scalable and Replicable Reduce eating junk & industrial chow Health & Environment are Linked FCF - Part of the Solution Secret Ingredient (Four Letter Words) Soil and Soul Connection Love Soil, Divine Soil Volunteers Love real food: whole, fresh, organic, healthy, that comes from the earth
EXPOSURES In the world of nutrition education, there is an idea supported by the USDA and other health authorities that if children are “exposed” on multiple occasions to healthy food, then there is a better chance that healthy eating behaviors can become a permanent part of one’s life.
REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES Nutrition and health educators believe that concrete experiences that increase exposure to healthy foods, versus abstract learning, are valuable for building skills that result in making healthier choices. Nutrition education, integrated into a real life setting, is critical to the Full Circle Farm’s success.
YEAR ROUND EXPERIENCES One key aspect of the work at Full Circle Farm is that the experiences we offer are available on a year – round basis, and children have the opportunity to return again and again to experience the programs and activities we offer or just to visit and have fun.
FIRST EXPERIENCE For too many children, the produce they see when they first visit Full Circle Farm might be their first exposure to fresh fruits and vegetables, and the only ones they see that day.
PURPOSEFUL EXPERIENCE Growing healthy food is simply more engaging than “dieting,” “exercise,” other “remedial” activities.
MAGICAL EXPERIENCE Beyond the very logical and ordered experiences we offer through our curriculum and programs, there are moments of discovery and magic here. These experiences are engaging, enticing, and voluntary.
FELICITIOUS EXPERIENCE My mother once imparted the wisdom that “Honey is sweeter than vinegar.” It turns out learning is a whole lot more effective when it is felicitous as well as delicious. One of my English teachers once commented that my poetry lacked felicity. We never hear that Full Circle Farm lacks felicity.
A PLACE FOR CHANGE Where can you change an environment, or a food system? Where can you learn to grow food and community together? You won’t always get a warm and fuzzy feeling when you visit a park or a playground…but you do here at Full Circle Farm. Just ask the chickens!
IT CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE Amazing gardens and farms can start anywhere The magical Findhorn garden in Scotland was founded by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean on a sandy bluff with no topsoil. With the leadership of Tim Smit, the incredible Eden Project in Cornwall, England was created inside an abandoned clay pit. The inspirational Will Allen created a Mecca for urban agriculture in a run-down Milwaukee neighborhood, and The visionary Michael Ableman developed a robust community farm in the middle of Goleta, California.
CHANGING – TRANSFORMATIONAL LANDSCAPE Full Circle Farm was once a wild space with a stream running through it, then an orchard, then an athletic field, then an urban farm.
DESTINATION POINT We work hard to capture the magic and genius of this place, to make it a destination point for community building, learning, and healing.
PLACE OF RESCUE This is a place of rescue…this place rescues us…this place speaks volumes to us…while bringing us joy.
REAL LIFE I have already alluded to the idea that “real life” settings are essential to creating changes in our health and to making learning more effective.
PERMANENT CONNECTIONS The most important changes in our food system are actions or activities that restore permanent connections to the sources of fresh, healthy food.
PRESERVING A SLIVER OF LOCAL AGRICULTURE FOR THE FUTURE Less than 3% of food consumed in Silicon Valley is currently produced here, in stark contrast to the rich agricultural history that defined this landscape once known as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight.”
RE-LEARNING & RE-CONNECTING WITH WHERE FOOD COMES FROM We are coming together as a community to re-learn and re-connect with where our food comes from.
BUILDING COMMUNITY Community building, learning, healing, growing
CONTEXTS: LOCAL, CULTURAL, DYNAMIC – INTEGRATIVE We do this in a local context, gathering up constituencies and cultures that share a common thread, building relationships in a dynamic and supportive environment, sharing food and fellowship, and coming together in ways that refreshing and comforting in a world that is too often too fast, too polarizing and too fractured.
GREEN = GROW When I hear the word “Sustainable” I think Green. The word Green comes from the ancient word growan—which means to grow.
SCALE & REPLICATE Full Circle Farm’s sustainability efforts involve the environment, the economy, our health, the food system, and build upon entrepreneurial spirit, developing capacity in the land and in ourselves, and learning how we can scale and replicate our work. We know this work can’t stop here.
JUNK CHOW The overwhelming majority of Americans are still eating non-organic, pesticide-laden, genetically engineered, overly processed, junk foods on a regular basis, spending half of their food dollars on super-sized industrial chow in restaurants, cafeterias, and fast-food outlets.
DIET RELATED DISEASE Skyrocketing rates of obesity, cancer, heart disease, and other diet-related diseases, and a diminished landscape of factory farms, monoculture crops, lifeless soil, polluted waterways, and depleted aquifers are testimony to the monumental challenges that still lie ahead.
PART OF THE SOLUTION While Full Circle Farm doesn’t pretend to be “the” solution, but do believe that we are a vital contributor to the movement that is changing our food and health landscape.
SOIL & SOUL CONNECTION There is a connection here between the soil and the soul. Why do these words sound so much alike? Is it possible our spiritual well-being depends, at least in part, on the health of the soil that sustains all life on earth? Is it possible to “love” the soil, vegetables, chickens, trees, dirt, etc.? Just walk around FCF during ANY given week and you will see hundreds of people doing just that.
LOVE – SOIL – HEALTH – SOUL – ALL CONNECTED Love, like soil, is a four letter word, just one syllable, yet packed with power. Love is ultimately behind the wheel of the tractor here. Writers like Homer and Plato, Walt Whitman, wrote of "divine soil" and soil that can affect a person's soul. The renowned English agriculturist Sir Albert Howard said that "the whole problem of health in soil, plant, animal, and man [is] one great subject."
VOLUNTEERS – PEOPLE LOVE IT HERE Our staff and volunteers work so hard every day here, freely giving their sweat and passion, and loving the soil until it loves us back…producing bountiful crops of delicious food and good will.
FOOD YOU LOVE – BUT DOES IT LOVE YOU? The first item that came up when I Googled “can you love food?” was ConAgra Foods – “Food you love” is their motto. From my perspective, the world of industrial food tends to be lacking love, whether earthly or divine. Rather, I am talking about real “Food that you love”…fresh, organic, whole food, that is grown with tender loving care and other tangible and intangible ingredients that allow our food to love us back by rewarding us with good health and vibrations. The word "health" comes from the same Indo-European root as "heal," "whole," and "holy" To be healthy is literally to be whole; to heal is to make whole
Sunnyvale Neighborhood Association
Prelude – The Short Story
(We started as a community garden)
433 Charles Street, Sunnyvale, CA 94086
But -- we had bigger dreams
Full Circle Farm@ Empty Field – 4 Years Ago
Sunnyvale Neighborhood Association Presentation
Ten Things I’m Going to Tell You
1. Why we exist
2. The problems we are addressing
3. The solutions we are offering
4. Why it might matter to you
5. Who we are serving
6. Our metamorphosis
7. How we plan to scale & replicate
8. Our recipe for success
9. What’s in it for you
10. Why your presence is required
1. Why We Exist
Sustainable Community Gardens (SCG)
is a community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation
the renewal of local, sustainable food systems.
Create Change, Empower to
Grow, & Build Community
Empower to Grow
Adopt a Tree Sponsors
2. The Problems We Are Addressing
Food Issues Affect Everyone in Silicon Valley
Healthy food access is an issue
The Retail Food Environment
Index (RFEI) for Santa Clara
Agriculture in Silicon Valley is
nearly extinct. Less than 3%
of the food we consume is
U.S Food prices rising faster
anytime since 1990, cost of
food up 34% in Silicon Valley
FCF offers integrated approaches to
improving environment, health, and
Distribution of Retail Food Outlets in
Santa Clara County
Poverty & Food Security
in Silicon Valley
Poverty in Silicon Valley is widely
Effective food system solutions
can benefit everyone
New Face of Poverty
Responsible and Responsive:
You are the Food System
Valley of Heart’s Delight
3. The Solutions We Offer
Urban Agriculture: The
practice of cultivating,
distributing food in, or
around, a village, town
Urban agriculture can also
Food System Problems Affect Everyone
We have Everyone Solutions
Cross Cutting Strategies Needed
Bring it Home
Urban Agriculture and the Connection Between
Farming and Community is Nothing New
Throughout the course of humanity, there have been many
different models of urban and communal agriculture. In
fact, only those groups that adopted agriculture proved
capable of producing civilizations. In 7000 B.C. agricultural
productivity was sufficient to support large communities
including many non-agriculturalists. 9,000 years later,
urban agriculture remains relevant, serving 800 million
Modern examples include sharecropping in the U.S.,
allotments in Europe and Asia, Ejidos in Mexico, Kibbutz in
Israel, cooperatives in the U.S., and the common
arrangement of a single landowner leasing parcels to
Why Urban Agriculture Matters
Not just about city people learning to
farm again; we are taking intensive
agriculture to the next level - Über
50% of the world's population lives in
800 million people are involved in
urban agriculture world-wide and
contribute to feeding urban
Low income urban dwellers spend
between 40% and 60% of their
income on food each year
Most urban areas have access to 1-3
days of food supplies in the case of
4. Why it Might Matter to You
Sunnyvale Realtors Agree
Full Circle Farm is Good for Property Values
“The proximate principle states that the market value of properties located
proximate to a park or open space are frequently higher than
comparable properties located elsewhere.”
-John L. Crompton, Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences,
Texas A&M University
Studies suggest that a positive impact of 20% on property values abutting or
fronting an open space area is a reasonable point of departure for
estimating the magnitude of the impact on property values.
Farmers and agricultural communities play a critical stewardship role that
often goes unrecognized. In addition to producing traditional crops,
farming communities also provide important public benefits, increase food
security and local economic viability, and provide amenity and
Research indicates that every $1.00 invested in agricultural land and open
spaces through conservation easements returns up to $6.00 in ecosystem
People whose lives we
touched last year: 15,000+
This year’s Earth Day event
drew approximately 4,000
6. Our Metamorphosis
The Transformation of Full Circle Farm
Enabling an important community & educational resource
in Silicon Valley to become a fully productive & sustainable model
for urban agriculture.
Metamorphosis: A profound change in form from one stage to the
next in the life history of an organism.
Transformation: A marked change, as in appearance or character, usually for the
Creating a Model for Urban Agriculture
The transformation of Full Circle Farm will
provide a unique opportunity to
demonstrate that urban agriculture can
be a vital and permanent part of the
urban landscape, and a resource for
people of all incomes and backgrounds
for generations to come.
Creating a productive, scalable, and
replicable model – applying the business
logic and entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon
Valley to food system change.
Engage! NVIDIA - December 9 & 10
7. How We Plan to Scale &
– Farm Stand
– Packing Shed
– Outdoor Kitchen
– Cooler Shed
– Farm & Orchard Improvements
– Modified Raised Bed System
Projects in December will touch
all aspects of the Farm
Several key new structures
Inspire: To influence, move, or guide by divine
or supernatural inspiration
SCG & FCF suffer from a chronic lack of funding
and infrastructure support
Farm income is 30% of total organizational
We hope the support provided by NVIDIA will
allow us to double this by increasing
production 200%, allowing us to establish a
more secure base of revenue from earned
50% Earned Income
NVIDIA Impact will result in increased
revenue from earned income.
Earned income allows nonprofits more
flexibility and autonomy.
based strategies in order
to earn income in
support of their missions,
the ventures are
generally referred to
as social enterprises.
8. Our Recipe for Success
5. Secret Ingredient
Concrete Experiences, Integrated Experiences,
Real Life Experiences, Year Round Experiences
First Exposure: Carrots don’t grow on trees
Only Exposure? Lack of fresh fruits & veges in diet
Purposeful activity (growing food) vs. “dieting,”
“exercise,” or “interventions”
Discovery & magic here: engaging, enticing,
Scalable & Replicable
Genius of Place
Place of Rescue
Keeping it Real
Connection to community,
Food Security is an issue that
Contexts: Local and Cultural
Community is our main crop.
Sustainable: Think Green. Think
Growing Healthy and Strong
Integrative, Scalable and
Reduce eating junk & industrial
Health & Environment are
FCF - Part of the Solution
(Four Letter Words)
Soil and Soul Connection
Love Soil, Divine Soil
Love real food: whole,
fresh, organic, healthy,
that comes from the
9. What’s In It For You -- A Free Offer:
How to Grow Incredible Amounts of Food and Build
Super Soil for Healthy Crops
10. Your Presence Required
Be there or Be Square!
Monday- Friday 9-5
Saturday 10am to dusk WEST GATE ONLY
Sunday 9am to 2pm
Wednesday & Friday: 1:30 pm to 7 pm
Sunday: 11am to 3pm
1055 Dunford Way
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Wednesdays & Saturdays
All ages welcome in Education Garden
10am to dark at the West Gate.
Sundays for Volunteers 16 years+
on Production Farm from 9-2