Climate change is here and it poses major threats to our delicate agricultural systems. After a couple chilly weeks of winter we are facing temperatures in the high 80s that is uncharacteristic even for Southern California. Our delicate cool season crops like snap peas and greens are wilting in the beating sun, but will next week be back to night time lows of 30 degrees? Has winter jumped over spring and entered summer full force? Should we compost the cabbage starts in the greenhouse and begin planting squash and okra, or will one good cold snap take those out as well? These are the questions farmers are starting to ask more and more as our climate begins to become unpredictable.
In light of the undoubtedly turbulent road ahead for our changing climate we must adapt our food system to be resilient and work with nature, rather than a simplistic monoculture attempting to tame the variables of our natural world. And the roots of this resilience will be strong local food communities. And what better way to build community than a good ol’ fashioned potluck?
-Join us this Thursday at 4pm for a Potluck on the Farm! This event will be cosponsored by Common Vision, an California school garden organization founded by Pomona alumni. Please bring a dish to share and RSVP on our Facebook event.
-This weekend is Family Weekend at Pomona College and the Farm will be having volunteer work hours, guided educational tours, and a farm stand featuring smoothies and pizza made with farm ingredients. Bring mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa, it’ll be a great time! Check out our Facebook event for more info.
This week we have a special combination of extra festive celebratory workshops. Tomorrow (Tuesday 2/2) we will be planting new fruit trees on the Farm to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat. Tu B’Shvat is also known as “the new year for the trees” or the “birthday of the trees,” and to celebrate we will be planting persimmons, olives, and pomegranates while we nom down on some kosher fruit snacks. Rabbi Yossi Matusof of Chabad will share about the history of the holiday while we plant trees into the sunset.
The celebrations continue Friday at 4pm with the first cooking workshop of the semester. Our new cooking workshop coordinator Olivia Whitener will be leading us as we make dumplings with veggies from the Farm to celebrate Chinese New Year. Stick around afterwards for our first Farm Friday potluck of the semester.
RSVP to these events on our Facebook page:
-Tu B’Shvat Tree Planting Celebration; Tuesday 2/2, 4pm
-Dumpling Cooking Workshop; Friday 2/5, 4pm
After a cold and rainy winter break the Farm is getting ready to explode with Spring colors and life! The longer day lengths and warmer temperatures are a welcome sign for our chickens who have begun laying again, kale that has doubled in size in a week, sweet broccoli ready to harvest, cabbages begging to be fermented into kimchi, and our citrus heavily laden with fruit.
While our brassicas, peas, and favas are pumping, our deciduous fruit trees lay dormant, getting ready to burst new life from their buds and provide us with sweet, crisp apples and juicy asian pears. Now is the time for us to prune these trees to maximize the production of said delicacies. Join us this Friday 1/29 @ 3pm to learn how to prune deciduous fruit trees at our Winter Pruning Workshop.
Unbelievably, we are at the halfway point for this academic year. With finals around the corner it is sometimes hard to remember to relax. Fortunately, the Farm offers the perfect environment for a much needed study break! Come on down for a siesta in our hammocks, play with the chickens, eat some oranges, and relax. The Farm also has wi-fi now, so if you are looking for a study spot free from hordes of stressed students come knock out a few papers under the shade of our mulberry trees.
This week at the Farm:
Wednesday 12/9, 4:15pm: EA-Farmie Mixer at Professor Los Huertos’ house— come mingle with other EA students and farmies. Learn about how to get involved at the Farm, the resources we offer, and grub down on some food made from farm produce!
Friday 12/11, 3:00pm: Destress Flower Planting— join the Bee Keeping club as we start propagating and planting the first round of flowers for our new pollinator garden. For more information on joining the Bee Keeping Club contact Kristen Park at kep02013@MyMail.pomona.edu
Peas and carrots,
Shorter days, double layers, and frozen fingertips are a welcome sight for farmers and crops alike here in Claremont. The intense, mythological level of summer heat has passed and the brisk SoCal fall means it is time for brassicas.
The colder temperature has driven away the hated bagrada bug and allow cole crops like cabbage, broccoli, kale, and collards to thrive without fear of bolting. Wild arugula is popping up in the West orchard, and countless plots of giant purple mustard have been sown. Fingers are crossed that the cabbages will head up and there is a near ocean of kale.
Looking forward to this week:
Thursday 12/3: LAST FARM STAND OF THE SEMESTER. 3:15-5:15 on Walker Beach. Email Emily Hill at ech02012@MyMail.pomona.edu if you would like to volunteer selling/harvesting produce. There will be greens, radishes, citrus, herbs, and more!
Friday 12/4: Backyard Chicken Basics: 2:30pm, West Farm chicken coop. Curious about keeping chickens at home? Dream about waking up to fresh eggs every morning? Come down to the Farm this Friday to get a basic overview of chicken care, urban chicken laws, and coop necessities.
Saturday 12/5: The Farm is excited to host the Food Forward Inland Valley Meet and Greet. Come learn about this awesome organization, tour the farm, make DIY tea mixes, and learn about citrus tree care from 1-3pm. Join us before from 10-12pm for our regular scheduled volunteer workday!
With our Fall crops in the ground growing away and the weather starting to turn cold and wet, it is a good time to start some indoor projects. Last week we harvested and begun drying our persimmons to make delicious hoshigaki in our dome, the sheds are getting cleaned and organized, and this week we begin propagating mushrooms!
Scripps professor Nancy Auerbach will be leading us this Friday at 2pm as we make the first oyster mushroom bags of the Winter. Did you know you can grow mushrooms on scraps of newspaper, egg cartons, and even old jeans? Come learn about the process of cultivating the yummy fungus by attending our Growing Oyster Mushrooms Workshop.
This week we will also be having our Farm Stand at 4pm on Walker Beach. Come buy some fresh and organic produce grown on your very own campus! We will be selling persimmons, sapotes, pineapple guavas, and more from our farm as well as from Huerta del Valle. Make sure to pick up a Farm sweater for these frigid California nights as well!
The all too short Fall break is already coming to an end, but luckily the Farm has a week of workshops and celebration to welcome you back!
This weeks’ workshops focus on the practice of Entomophagy! For those not well versed in Greek, Entomophagy refers to the consumption of insects. Now before your preconceptions of food kick in, there are many reasons to add our six-legged friends to your diet. In fact over 2 billion people eat insects as a large part of their diets, and the U.N. recommends increasing our insect consumption as a way to mitigate climate change and feed the world. Whether you are looking for a leaner protein, want a more sustainable meat, or simply love the taste, there are plenty of reasons to grub the grub.
In hopes of creating an entomophagous scene here in Claremont, the Farm will be hosting two workshops this week to get you started:
In less insectary news, this Saturday 3-6pm is Fall Festival on the Farm. This is the Farm’s biggest event of the year and there will be food, live music, DJs, a farm prom themed photo booth, games, and more! This year’s theme is “Farm Formal.” Come out in your best combination of farm and fancy. Some ideas include: overalls and blazers, bow-ties and flannels, ball gowns and cowboy boots. The possibilities are really endless! Families, friends, and dogs are encouraged to attend. You can RSVP on our Facebook event here.
Peas and carrots,
This week the Farm completed round 1 of fall planting. Kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, peas, favas, beets, garlic, and more are now out of the comfort of the greenhouse and into the world of wind, insects, and RAIN. Yesterday’s shower came just in time to give our new seeds and starts a wet welcome into the world.
Rainy days also means it is time to make tea. Join us on the Farm this Thursday for an Herbal Tea Making workshop led by Emily Hill. Did you know the Farm has an abundance of peppermint, lemon balm, lavender, stevia, and more herbs that make healthy-organic herbal teas? RSVP on our Facebook page to learn more about how to identify, dry, and brew.
This week is also our Compost Education Week at Frary Dining Hall. Not sure what you can and can not put in the bin? Stop by the Pomona College Organic Farm table in front of the dish carousel to talk to a farm representative about composting at Pomona- and ask any questions you might have about how compostable or non-compostable those leftover scraps on your plate are! Easy as a slice of vegan pie!
Peas and carrots,
For centuries farmers have scheduled their plantings with the cycles of the moon, and last night’s red harvest moon eclipse was the cosmic signal confirming the coming of Fall. Despite the still blazing Claremont heat the moon is a reminder that cooler days are on the horizon. This week the Farm starts our Fall plantings of kale, cabbage, broccoli, beets, and GARLIC. Join us this Friday at 4pm for a garlic planting workshop led by farm founder Geordie Schuurman. RSVP on the Facebook event linked below.
This Friday is also the second farm stand of the year on Walker Beach outside of Frary Dining Hall at 12:30pm as a part of the Know Tomorrow sustainability event. Come out and buy some delicious, organic, local produce, bread, and pesto!
Growing Garlic Workshop: https://www.facebook.com/events/1631391387150664/
Farm Stand: https://www.facebook.com/events/1168468649847468/
As the first couple weeks of the semester have gone by it seems everyone is settling into their schedules, and we are happy to see many new and eager students making the Farm a part of their weekly routine. Everyday the Farm has been welcoming excited volunteers into its gates to feed the chickens, make compost, plant food and flowers, and explore the nooks and crannies of our food forest.
The first workshop of the semester is this week as well! Friday 9/25 at 4:00pm come and learn how worms can make highly fertile compost from our food scrap waste through the practice of Vermicomposting. We will be making a larger worm bin for the Farm as well as some “dorm-sized” worm bins to take home. We will be meeting on the East side of the Farm.
Additionally cooking workshops resume this Thursday at 4:30pm taught by the wonderful Emily Charlotte Hill. We will be making a variety of eggplant dips using ingredients from the Farm.
You can RSVP to the workshops below:
Vermicomposting Workshop: https://www.facebook.com/events/450043018531843/
Cooking Workshop: https://www.facebook.com/events/1001896146519054/