Welcome to the latest edition of Vallejo hometown advantage
Many long-time Vallejoans as well as its newcomers are surprised when they discover that there is a working farm nestled within the Vallejo community. Their curiosity deepens when they find out what a magnet Loma Vista Farm has become - attracting the energies of some of the most powerful advocates within the sustainable living movement.
One of these advocates is Vallejo resident Shelee Loughmiller, this edition's focus. Loughmiller is President of Friends of Loma Vista Farm, a privately funded non-profit that supports the Farm's educational mission. Loughmiller recently took some time out to share with us how she became involved with the Farm. We also asked her to comment on the farm's overall impact on the Vallejo community.
VCIE: Tell us how you become involved with Loma Vista?
Loughmiller: " I started out as a volunteer at Loma Vista Farm a few years ago after learning about it from my friends Barbara & Morris Velasco. I was attending Bauman College's Holistic Nutritionist program at the time and was searching for an opportunity to teach as part of the internship requirement. Loma Vista is such a gem for our community, a real farm with animals, demonstration gardens & a wonderful greenhouse. The community has been wonderfully supportive so that the farm can continue to expose families and students to what life on a farm is all about.
I joined the Board of Directors two years ago to help out in a more substantial way with fundraising development. I was elected President of the Board 2013-14 and look forward to my duties as liaison with Vallejo City Unified School District. Loma Vista Elementary is transitioning to an Environmental Academy and incorporating the farm as part of their K-6 curriculum. It's kind of a "Going Back to the Future" since the farm was at an integral part of the curriculum when it first started."
VCIE: What value does the Farm bring to the Vallejo community?
Loughmiller: "From my relatively short time being involved with the farm I have seen how diverse our community is and how much we all have in common. When a child holds a chicken for the first time their eyes light up and parents can sense that this is a safe & fun place to visit. The farm will have been in operation for 40 years in 2014 so there are always stories being told of parents that visited when they were kids who are now bringing their children to the farm. Memories shared by these parents are a reminder that this type of experience is one that their kids will remember their entire lives."
Loughmiller is also an Economic Development Committee facilitator with Vallejo's inaugural Participatory Budgeting project. She has some interesting perspectives on what it will take to help sustain Vallejo's current interest in community gardens. We will be sharing her thoughts soon....So stay tuned! (Do you know that you can get free email alerts every time we publish new content? Just click on "Subscribe" above.)