By: Caleb Weaver, Youth Education Program Manager
Thanks to recommendations made by a committee of Santa Cruz County residents convened by the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, $35K of grant funding available through federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will support Borderlands Restoration Network to partner with the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center (PYEC) to develop a mini-urban farm at the PYEC. Participants of BRN’s Borderland Earth Care Youth alongside visiting groups from local colleges, universities, and visiting youth groups will construct the mini-urban farm, learning about both the design and implementation processes.
The farm will be sustained solely by rainwater, teaching youth how to grow resilient food crops in projected drier futures. The PYEC mini-urban farm has been designed to produce organic vegetables, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwis, grapes, pineapple guava, apples, pears, pomegranates, figs, and eggs in the face of a changing climate. No groundwater or municipal water will support the growth of vegetables, fruits, or even laying hens. Once the mini-urban farm is installed, food will become available for youth center attendees and families alike.
During the early stages of the pandemic, food security was a major issue for families in Patagonia. This mini-urban farm alongside paid training for local youth, and PYEC's agri-business incubator program will together provide a resilient community food source and demonstration site.
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