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Stockton urban farm creating community and support

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Much like the TV sitcom Green Acres (circa 1965), PUENTES Farm is the place to be for farm-living and -learning.

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A recent farm-to-table dinner at Mile Wine Company raised funds for the local, (beyond) organic PUENTES Farm. Located in Boggs Tract, an industrial corner of Stockton, the farm speaks heart and soul to the concept of “build it and they will come.” Although, in this case, more the “plant it and they will grow!” BTW – the dinner was a sellout. Attendees dined locavore including produce from PUENTES Farm and local craft brews. Delish!

Boggs Tract is where and what exactly? Yes, Boggs not bog; though bog wouldn’t be too far from the truth. A little-known community on unincorporated land south of the Port of Stockton, Boggs Tract is adjacent to downtown, but in many ways feels remote and far removed from urban and suburban Stockton. Originally owned and developed in the 1920s by Senator Frank Boggs, the subdivision contained half-acre plots. The land flooded several times (that’s where the bog might arise), but Senator Boggs reclaimed the land and Boggs Tract was born.

New life is being breathed into a nearly forgotten corner of muddy, fertile land at 466 South Ventura Avenue for this now Garden of Eatin’. The dream has come to fruition and the 2-1/2-acre plot has proven itself by yielding seasonal fruits and vegetables for Boggs Tract residents and Stockton locals who receive CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes from the Stockton Harvest project.

A nonprofit, PUENTES developed an urban farm – Boggs Tract Community Farm – to provide residents with healthier options in a food desert. The farm is multi-faceted – three major components: (1) it’s a commercial farm generating revenue through CSA boxes; (2) a community garden with 30 family plots. Beyond tending their own plots, each family provides six hours of farm-sweat equity; and (3) a classroom garden for elementary school kids who learn how to grow, cook, and eat healthy food and get to keep what they grow. It also helps create a sense of community for everyone involved, an important component in today’s over-scheduled and sometimes frenetic world.

And what the heck is “beyond” organic? Well, it’s simply natural farming. No pesticides; not even those claiming to be “naturally” derived. “We don’t use any at all,” said farm manager Eric Firpo. “We use biodiversity – plants and bugs. We invite bugs to the farm – one bug eats the other. It’s an ongoing war among the bugs and we encourage that. Other beyond organic practices mean we don’t plant cool weather plants in the summer, it’s purely seasonal – which means planting when they want to be planted.”

About the weekly CSA boxes, when they say the prices can’t be beat…trust me, it’s true! Fresh fruits and veggies delivered weekly right to your Stockton address or centralized locations for commuters. Plus, for additional prices, you can add local Jesus Mountain coffee, homemade jams/jellies, and (drum roll) FRESH eggs – the really happy eggs from seriously happy chickens! Seasonal items too – walnuts, for example. Check the online Stockton Harvest store for availability. Whole or half-boxes are available on a weekly basis.

What’s the buzz at Boggs Tract Community Farm? Check in on their blog. New bee hives could mean fresh honey in your future. Sweet! PUENTES Farm’s programs boil down to those same simple words: Community! Supported! Agriculture! Lend your support and help grow future urban gardens.

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