City Farm History
In response to widespread public input, the City Council adopted this policy:"This approximately 180-acre area of prime farm land bounded by Madonna Road, Highway 101, Central Coast Plaza, and Prefumo Creek is in three ownerships. The City intends to preserve at least one-half of this signature working agricultural landscape at the southern gateway to San Luis Obispo as it existed in 1994. " ---City of San Luis Obispo General Plan, Land Use Element, Policy 8.8. In order to convert half of their agricultural land to commercial use and annex to the City, two of the three landowners donated half of their parcels to the City. These two parcels were designated by the City as the Calle Joaquin Agricultural Reserve.
The City approved a Master Plan for the Reserve which provided for management of 19 acres of the Reserve specifying that its purpose is to maintain this "signature landscape" in sustainable agricultural production and to provide its citizens with educational opportunities to learn about food production and local food systems. The Plan invited applications by a licensed non-profit to manage the Reserve.
In January, the City signed a twenty year lease with Central Coast Grown (CCG), a non-profit organization composed of local volunteers, to manage the Reserve. CCG raised the funds for a state-of-art irrigation system for the whole parcel and completed its installation in September.
In April CCG held a ground breaking ceremony at the farm signaling the start of its programs. It was attended by City officials, many citizens who advocated for the creation of the Reserve in 1994, and CCG’s first agricultural subtenants.
In June, CCG, initiated its first educational program in partnership with Pacific Beach Continuation High School: a twice weekly academic credit class called “Farm,” in which students and teachers work on site to grow crops, harvest, cook and eat them, and donate surplus to the Food Bank and Salvation Army
In October, CCG initiated a program of on-site weekly Horticultural Therapy classes for Developmentally Disabled young adults in San Luis Coastal Unified School District’s PREPARE program. Both programs continue to thrive in 2019
CCG began collaboration with Our Global Family Garden, affiliated with the SLO Permaculture Group, where elementary school children and their families learn about worldwide food cultures and food cultivation methods during weekend workshops and Farmgirls Summer Camp
In October 2017 , CCG initiated its annual Fall Harvest Festival featuring hayride tours, produce sales, corn roast, educational booths and entertainment. In its second year the Festival drew upwards of 500 people.
In November 2017, CCG initiated its program of monthly Saturday work parties which draws the public to participate in planting, cultivating, harvesting crops, and building projects.
Throughout 2017-2018 CCG completed four infrastructure improvements: a permanent Pergola structure used as classroom and event space, a field kitchen, deer fencing and a perennial crop Food Forest.
In October 2018 CCG initiated ON THE FARM, a program of field trips that extend the benefits of our educational projects for special needs students to a larger constituency. It allows groups from kindergarten through middle school to deepen what they learn about biology, ecology, and nutrition in the classroom by meeting farmers and working the land themselves.
In January 2019 CCG rebranded as City Farm SLO and launched its new website https://cityfarmslo.org!