Peace in Plants


A mid-summer missive! The plants are loving this sunshine and stretch greedily outwards, devouring paths in their wake. We’ve had hundreds of cantaloupe, cucumber and butternut flowers bloom, and with all the optimism of a plant some have even set and begun their bulbous growth (but not all will manifest, so it goes). The evenings at the farm are particularly lovely, what with the sun slowly setting late, the trees radiating back all the sunshine of the day, and the leaves rustling and settling into night. It is difficult not to have peace of mind immersed in such constancy of being, in such faithful harmony. The farm has recently enveloped into its fold a lovely light by the name of Sister Dhammadinna. She is a buddhist nun who is drawn to all of this rustling and greets it with a wonderful, crinkly smile. We have been scheming, and are happy to announce a new phase in the farm’s offerings:

Sevensteps-walk & Meditation Practice: Sundays 7-8pm on the West Side of the Farm
Led by Sister Dhammadinna and starting this Sunday, June 14. These sessions are free and open to any and all. You don’t have to have experience in meditation to join. There is nothing like silence and peace to celebrate a warm summer evening. I am excited about this new articulated link between natural spaces and mental/spiritual health, and hope to see you there this weekend. Incidentally, we are still running Sagehen Café specials (Friday) and volunteer hours (Saturday 10-12).


The Farm

Summer Life and Times

Hello all!

Happy happy summer. May the long days bring you extra time of leisure, may the sun’s brighter shine bring you extra moments of warmth. Here at the farm, the plants are busily humming away, the hummingbirds are busy flitting here and there and the fleets of squirrels hiding out in the wash are no doubt scheming their invasion. This summer we’ll be hosting the Summer Recreation program for kids of PO Staff and Faculty, teaching a farm class for PAYS, and hosting the students of the Palomares Spiritual Empowerment Program. We’ll also echo last year’s transition in power in June (it appears my reign is coming to an end), but more on that later. In summer things tend to speed up and slow down at the same time, and our offerings to you remain a serene space to soak it all in and a few peaches. Come on by and visit! These emails will become sparse over the summer, but know that you are welcome at the farm, and that we will still be having farm specials at the Sagehen Café and volunteer hours on saturdays from 10-12pm, with produce as payment and appreciation.
That is all, friends! See you on the other side of lazy branches.

The Farm

A Bittersweet Parting

Hello all,

We have reached the end of the school year, much to our collective— or maybe just my– dismay. On Sunday students who have sweat through four (or more) years will happily prance across a stage in the due ceremony of Graduation. You are like ripe pomegranates dropped willingly from their stem, swollen with memories and bursting with wisdom, sweet and ready to bless the world with promise. But remember, friends! Diplomas are just sheets of paper. They are mere pebbles compared to the monuments of friendship and the mountains of love. Keep those close, instead. So to all of you who are graduating, best of luck, and remember that Sunday is just another day in the grand scheme of things.

The farm would like to bid farewell to five beloved seniors who have left their mark on these twisting paths: Mr. Jon, the chicken man, Dakota, bug woman, Lucas, the sasser, Alana, tomato-picker, and Nissa, lady of puppets (these are honorable titles, to be sure, as they are bestowed with utmost affection). We will miss their lively spirits and they will be kept in memory along with all the other ghosts embedded in these trees, to be welcomed warmly back, if in one year or twenty. To those who remain: rejoice! Summer is here and with it the sunny abundance of eggplant and tomatoes, the sweet crunch of cucumbers, the soft buttery texture of baked summer squash. We will be waiting for you under peach-laden branches and fig-growing twigs, where the sun isn’t quite so harsh and the air isn’t quite so dry.

To this end, friends, this week there will be nothing. No workshops, no volunteer hours. We will be making space for the sweet and hollow ringing of goodbyes. If it all seems like too much, please come on down and find solace in a juicy peach and a companion in the beady eyes of a squirrel. For they, and we, endure.

The Farm

At the Verge

Hello beings!

Ah, yes, we are at the cusp of summer, at the edge of The End (or the beginning), in that space in time when everything is heightened, every sensation and moment somehow more vivid for its fragility. Time warps in the transition. Friends! Do not despair that you will soon part from those among you, for there will be friends wherever you go, and the uniqueness you’ve found is true of others a thousand times over. Perhaps in times of chaos and change it is useful to remind yourself that you are a body pumping, heart beating, mind racing-human, and no matter what happens that will never stop being true. Remember you are a creature of the earth, and that you belong on this planet. Your body is as much a reflection of mountains and oceans as they are a reflection of you. This week at the farm, we are grounding, making things, and endlessly moving on:

Sagen Café Farm Special: Monday 11:30-1pm, SCC
Today! Kale salad! And another special on friday for old time’s sake.

Leatherworking: Thursday 4pm on West Side
Take a break from studying during reading days to learn some handy skills.  Would you like to make a custom case for your favorite pair of garden clippers? Or would your harvest knife stay honed longer in a new sheath? Bring your tool to a basic leather workshop! If you have thirty minutes and want to lace up a simple design, great! If you have an hour and would like to trace your tool and create your own design to incise and stamp into the leather, we will provide the supplies! Vegetable tanned hide, lacing, rivets, and leather sealer available to all participants. Start thinking about a favorite plant or symbol to be your design motif! There are limited spots so please sign up here. Led by Elizabeth Voth,  Claremont community member and elementary teacher in Upland. She enjoys using leather for practical projects which reflect culture and natural beauty.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
The perfect earthy de-stressor for whatever you have in store next week (or whatever happened this week)

The Farm

Landscape of a Leaf


Thank you to all who came out for the moist and drizzly farm fest! The farm is in the throes of soaking in the vibes and the water deep into the last crevices of rock and soil. This week we’re hosting Alumni at Pomona College as part of Alumni Weekend, a time of great merriment and a general air of nostalgia on campus, not at all minimized by the imminent departure of a batch of seniors. if the world seems a bit too large right now, if everything in scope is a bit too big, let me indulge you with the same world in macro perspective.

It is morning. A few dew drops hang from a broccoli leaf, shrinking as the sun ascends and the air warms. A ladybug ambles along the leaf, six legs skittering along. It’s hard shell gleams in the morning sun. It is on the hunt. It stumbles over a vein and finds, in a small valley of the leaf, a cluster of aphids plugged into the leaf’s vein, gorging on its sugars, bloated and ripe for the kill. The ladybug approaches and with hungry intentions rips one of them from its tissue hold and crushes it between its mandibles. Sugar-water oozes from its mouth as the aphid turns into a sweet-crunchy breakfast. The ladybug swallows and cleans itself off with two front legs, not one to be sloppy. It turns it’s attention to the next morsel and rips another from the leaf. The rest of the aphids are alerted but they have already invested their body to this leaf, and the sugar water moves through them largely undigested, exiting in a round drop from their translucent bodies. The ants, their keepers, soon come to drink the drops, unable to tap into the leaves themselves. An ant looks up and notices the ladybug happily devouring their food-machines! An invasion! It skitters over to the valley in the leaf and crawls right up to the ladybug with accusing mandibles, poking here and there, trying to find something soft to assault. The ladybug retreats into its hard shell and squeezes everything inside, hiding, eyes shut, waiting it out. The ant retreats, confounded, and the ladybug, found out, ambles its way out before the rest of the ants are altered to its intrusion. But breakfast was good and there is no more work to be done here. The ladybug reaches the tip of the leaf, lifts its red shell outer wings and unfolds from beneath feathery papery wings twice as big, waving them at inert air particles, and quietly floats into the sunlight.
This week in farm:

Alumni Farm Stand: Friday 4-5:30pm at the SCC Courtyard
Farm stand will continue its irregular schedule and will happen on Friday, this time we’re back on Pomona’s campus for Alumni Weekend! Featuring all your favorite fresh veggies, in addition to newly printed farm shirts and sweatshirts, teas, and the first edition of a farm booklet! Basically, it is a compilation of missives and pictures from the year. This edition is limited and printed for alumni weekend, but the final version will be available to order in the summer so watch this space. We will also have lots of free mulberries and loquats for all to enjoy!

Hazlett’s goodbye shindig: Friday 5-6:30pm at the West Farm
Our wonderful farm guardian and EA professor Rick Hazlett will be retiring after this year, so we will gather to celebrate his contribution and work at the farm! Come on down to bid him farewell and to see pictures and quotes from the farm’s history and reminisce on the long journey that got us here. There will be music, there will be food. It is also the best time to be at the farm- when the evening light bathes everything cool and golden. See you there!

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm, Farm West side
A call to alumni and any other souls who have an impulse towards dirt! We’ll be doing a fair amount of summer planting and winter clearing. Just the thing to invigorate your soul, and the weather even promises to cooperate.

Alumni Weekend Tours: Saturday 4:45- 6:30pm starting from the Greek Theatre
Tours of the farm will be leaving from the Greek Theatre from 4:45-6:30pm on Saturday.

Farm Alumni Lecture: “Trends in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems”  Saturday 5-5:30pm in the Outdoor Classroom, West Side
Happening during the tours, so you can join and go as you please, Professor Marc Los Huertos gives a lecture describing environmental, economic and policy trends that influence agricultural sustainability. He will highlights the results of research projects, changes in farming practices and various policy developments that influence the environmental outcomes in food systems in California and US. Free and open to all.

Love and ladybugs,
The Farm

Farm Festival and other celebrations!

People, my People!

This week is a week like no other! This week we open our arms wide and embrace every last drop of spring, letting it fill our every pore and fling our arms wide in celebration!This week we catapult ourselves into summer, soaking in the longer days and the sweet sunshine that beats mercilessly down on this humble town! Food week is in full throes and upon us and our great festival looms ever closer! This week throw off your cardigans and spring caps and twirl in anticipation of the warm summer nights to come! Breathe the subtle changes of the seasons deep into your lungs and regard the world anew! This week, my friends, is so special, and we find ourselves in this place on this planet with nothing left to do but rejoice in every way we know how. So join us for a festival and join us for pickling or mushrooming or eating or whatever your heart desires from the abundance revealed below. Relish the warmth! Linger on the vivid hue of a leaf! This week we inhale the world and breathe it out again to see it changed! Join us!

Pickle Workshop: Monday (Today) 4-6pm, Farm West Side
Come on down to harvest carrots, radishes, and whatever else your pickling heart desires. Your quick pickles will be ready to eat within a week, so you don’t even have to wait months and months to enjoy them! Participants can take home a jar. FMI:

Mushroom Growing Workshop: Tuesday 4-5:30pm, Farm West Side
We’ll be throwing together another batch of spores to grow king oyster mushrooms! Come on out and learn about the process and about this way understood mystical part of the evolutionary tree!

Earth Day Farm Stand and Sustainability Fair: Wednesday 4-5:30pm, SCC Courtyard
A celebration of Earth Day at pomona college! Come on out to buy some produce and learn about other groups doing sustainability work on campus! FMI:

Sagen Café Farm Special: Friday 11:30-1pm, SCC
A meal of champions!

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Help set up for farm festival!

There will be quail! Seed bombs! Bacon! Local vendors! Come one come all! FMI: Festival Poster

SAHS Fundraising Dinner: Sunday 4:30-7:30pm at San Antonio High School
Our neighbors are putting on a fundraising dinner for their Plant Justice program! Buy a ticket and enjoy a delectable, local, organic, multi-course meal and music, all the while supporting a great initiative! See poster for details.

The Farm

Acorn Food

Hello humans!

While we sweat away over our young tomatoes, the oaks stretch on, oblivious to my fussing with irrigation drips and shade cloth. They have been here long before we ever were and will be here long after we’re gone. Thanks to these ancient trees and the sheer abundance of acorns they provided, the native people of this area never had a reason to develop agriculture- the oaks provided. And how baffling to think that a tree that’s two hundred years old, branches casting long shadows on a ground of leaf litter, started with a single acorn. To trees growth is timeless. The acorn does not worry about how it could possibly ever grow into a giant tree. Doesn’t think about everything that can go wrong, lose hope by comparing its small, hard rounded self to the glorious canopy of its forebears, despairing at the long road to come. It just puts out one more root, and one more leaf, one second at a time, one photon at a time, collecting its energy, patiently, simply, getting bigger every year. And eventually there it is, as big as the tree it came from, building its own set of round, hard, bitter acorns. Do not get frustrated! Even the most massive of endeavors must, by necessity, happen one day at a time.

This week we’re thinking about food- from acorns, to tomatoes, to honey, to anything else you put in your body. Food Week at the Claremont Colleges is almost upon us! Events officially begin on Friday, and the farm is braided through the week’s calendar, attached for your perusing pleasure. Food Week will end in the massive celebration that is Spring farm fest (but more on that next week). This week, join us for the following:

CANCELLED: Cooking Workshop: All about carob, Thursday 4pm Farm Kitchen

Sagen Café Farm Special: Friday 11:30-1pm, SCC
The usual delicious salad-fare. Probably featuring kale.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
We’ll probably be weeding but will definitely be covered in dirt by the end of it.

Beekeeping Workshop: HONEY HARVEST! Saturday 2pm on the East Side
Finally we can harvest some delicious fresh honey from our busy hive! There are limited spots available for this workshop so jump in now! Sign up here and look out for a confirmation email. You will be able to take home a small container of honey with you!

Claremont Eclectic Garden Tour: Sunday 1-4pm, all over Claremont
This garden tour is organized by the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens and the Claremont Garden Club! If you are interested in spectacular and inventive Claremont landscaping, you won’t want to miss this! The tour is Sunday, April 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. and the price of the ticket ($20) includes admission to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (within 30 days of event date). Ticket holders are welcomed to enjoy the Annual Wildflower Show event also occurring on April 19 at the Garden. FMI, and for tickets.
The Farm

Flower to Sun

Hello People!

Somehow, a sunflower started to grow right smack in the middle of one of the paths at the farm. It shot through the mulch and its stalk got thicker as it reached upwards. But sunflowers are not known as tight rope walkers and sometimes they lose their balance in their eagerness to grow big enough to bloom. This particular sunflower, perhaps destabilized by its unconventional growing spot, grew tall enough to fall right over, the stem bending in a 90 degree angle at the base. When I saw it like this a month ago I assumed it to be dead soon. It could have easily sighed and given itself up back to the earth it now lay on. Somehow, though, the stalk reconfigured itself to keep the now-horizontal plant alive as it figured out what to do next. It began changing its direction of growth and reaching vertically again from the fallen tip. Every week I was surprised to still find it alive. Its stalk is bent at the base, and again a couple of feet along when it twists up to soak the  sun. Now it’s huge leaves face the sky and its round bud, at the height of my shoulders, contains hidden the beauty of a bloom we’re only allowed to see when the plant is good and ready to show us. Until then, my unconventional sunflower! Perhaps we can all be as patiently stubborn as this marvelous plant, and just start growing up again every time we fall over, because reaching for the cosmos is as natural as growth itself. This week at the farm, grow with us:

Farm Stand: Thursday 4-5:30pm at the GROVE HOUSE!
Farm stand at the beautiful Grove House! We’ll be selling all of our recently-picked delicious organic-local produce, as well as your favorite stuffed and unstuffed breads. Check out the Grove House on Facebook:  The Grove House is north of Benson Auditorium on Pitzer’s campus- there is a parking lot on 9th street right east of Claremont Boulevard. Hope to see you there!

Sign Painting: Friday 5pm West Side
Come down and help us paint beautiful signs for our fruit trees- so you know what everything is! You don’t need to be an artist! Anyone will do!

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Come on down and get some sun and some work done and some produce.

Beekeeping Workshop: Saturday 2pm on the East Side of the farm
The second to last workshop! There are limited spots available so sign up here and look out for a confirmation email. Workshops are free and open to all.


The Farm

There will Always be Leaks

This morning as I walked back to the West side of the farm, the irrigation was on and running, placidly dripping out of drip tape. In a verdant, young peach tree, new leaves fresh and bright, I saw a rustling. On high alert for squirrels, I peered into the branches, trying to figure out what was going on in there. As I approached I noticed that there was a leak in the irrigation around the tree, likely the result of thirsty squirrels gnawing, and a thin stream of water was shooting in a brilliant sun-drenched arc into the low branches of said peach tree. There was a bird, probably a sparrow, who came upon that leafy shelter with droplets falling on it, just in the middle of that low branch, and began to take itself a bath. A shower, I should say. There the bird was, fluttering, fluffing, preening, loving this little rainy jungle, rustling away in the branches with not a care in the world. This not-supposed-to-be shower, this accidental opportunity, this anarchist chaos-loving bird, having a grand old time at the expense of a would-be problem. Was the water, then, wasted? Folks, there will always be leaks! But worry not, because there is always an opportunity in a problem, and there are always birds ready to shower. This week in farm, join us to celebrate an abundance of opportunity:

Sagen Café Farm Special: MONDAY 11:30-1pm, SCC
Switching it up! Today I harvested a boatload of kale for a delicious kale-watermelon-strawberry salad! We’ll also do a special on Friday, so stay tuned for that.

Cooking Workshop: Fava bean nori rolls, Thursday 4pm at the Farm Outdoor Kitchen
Who said sushi had to be made of rice? The farm is bursting with lava beans right now, so come on out to learn how to use fava beans instead of rice in sushi! We’ll be concocting rolls in all sorts of delicious combinations.

Beekeeping Workshop: Saturday 10am on the East Side
Learn the basics of beekeeping and hive life! There are only a few spots available for this week’s workshop. Sign up here and look out for a confirmation email. I will keep sending out the form every week that we’re hosting a workshop. Workshops are free and open to all.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Work! Outside! Dirt! Jokes! Dirty jokes!



The Farm

a Burst of Spring

Hello Folks!

With the coming of spring buds are bursting, fruit is ripening, and shoots break the surface of the earth anew. It is a time for beginnings and a time for evolution. As you settle into post-spring-break times, remember that the earth is awakening with you. There are tender green leaves unfurling in every tree, distinctive from their lighter color and delicate tissues, not yet toughened by the sun but already blessed by the new moon. There are flowers drying up and turning into seedpods, storing their energy into little versions of themselves. Pollen from the oak trees swirls through the air unnoticed, carried by micro-currents that whisper past us unseen. Trees are stretching into time, reaching for water and finding warmth. The air is heating up and the universe pulsates while we breathe. This week, come alive, feel your skin tingling with the sheer vibrancy of your pumping cells, and join us in celebration:

Juicing Workshop: Wednesday 5pm on the West Side
The ever-popular juicing workshop is back! Featuring Chinese herbalist and juicing master Dean Rehmannia Thomas whipping up the most nutritious, delicious concoctions for your awaiting palate. Come on out to sample these delicious super foods straight from the farm.

Farm Stand: Thursday 4-5:30pm at the GROVE HOUSE!
Farm stand at the beautiful Grove House! We’ll be selling all of our recently-picked delicious organic-local produce, as well as your favorite stuffed and unstuffed breads. Check out the Grove House on Facebook.  The Grove House is north of Benson Auditorium on Pitzer’s campus- there is a parking lot on 9th street right east of Claremont Boulevard. Hope to see you there!

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Come on down and get some sun and some work done and some produce.

Beekeeping Workshop: Saturday 10am on the East side of the farm
Learn the basics of beekeeping and hive life! We’re going to have a series of four workshops over the next few weekends and this is the first. There are limited spots available so sign up here and look out for a confirmation email. I will keep sending out the form every week that we’re hosting a workshop. Workshops are free and open to all.

Native Sage Festival: Saturday, 10am-3pm at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Come on out to RSABG this Saturday for a festival honoring the very key and foundational plant of this very ecosystem, sage. We’ll have a booth at the festival and will be selling fruit/veggies/t-shirts.

Growing Home Potluck: A Journey Into Spring, Saturday 4-8pm at the Farm
Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth, and joy. Cultures throughout the world celebrate this time with a variety of festivals and traditions that welcome the coming warmth, growth, and abundance.  From Easter in the US to Chinese New Year to India’s Holi to Persia’s Nowruz, Spring has come to Los Angeles in a myriad of smells, tastes, and colors. At this potluck, we will hear from a variety of local residents how their cultures celebrate spring traditionally, and how that celebration has traveled across Ocean’s to the America. Tickets here. and for Pomona College students, use the promotional code “pomegranate”

And with that, go forth and feel the earth underneath your feet.

The Farm