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Silicon Valley’s Urban Farm Movement ‘Ready to Grow’

Thursday, October 13, 2016 6:30
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Jamie Chen of La Mesa Verde says families don’t need to be “taught” what is healthy. Photo by Peter Schurmann.

“We’re in Silicon Valley, and don’t get me wrong – I love technology,” she says. “But I can’t eat computers.

By Honora Montano
New American Media
Oct 6, 2016


While Silicon Valley is known for cutting-edge technology and the wealth that comes with it, poor neighborhoods like East San Jose have some of the highest inequities in the Bay Area. Low-income kids in Santa Clara County are 60 percent more likely to be overweight compared their peers. Heart disease and diabetes are also growing problems, with large disparities among the county’s low-income and non-white residents.

Jamie Chen, organizing director with La Mesa Verde, says many families seek out their garden programs precisely because they have health issues, including diabetes, obesity and cancer.

“We want to bust the myth that low-income or immigrant families need to be taught what is healthy,” she says, emphasizing that the barriers are more tied to access and cost.

The movement to grow fresh food in the city’s backyards and public spaces – and improve community health in the process – is being fueled in part by 2014’s Measure Q, a 15-year parcel tax that generates funding for land conservation projects. The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (SCVOSA), the independent special district responsible for implementing Measure Q, has devoted up to a quarter of funds for projects in urban areas, through an Urban Open Space grant program.

“We’ve heard from the community and residents that community gardens and urban gardens are in top demand and are a great way to connect to nature,” says Marc Landgraf, external affairs director for SCVOSA, who noted that almost 90 percent of voters supported the measure.

Read the complete article here.


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