A new kind of farm is about to become part of Solutions for Change.
Construction has begun on Solutions Farms, an ambitious and hope-harvesting endeavor that will raise futures as well as food. Solutions Farms is an aquaponics farm (see sidebar, A Farm With No Soil?) that produces safe, fresh produce and fish while responding to the rapidly increasing demand for locally-sourced fresh food.
Solutions Farms is located on a two-acre property in Vista, owned by Solutions for Change, with more than 25,000 square feet of existing greenhouse structures.
The site is being rehabilitated and built out in phases. The initial phase will use just over 6,900 square feet of greenhouse and create approximately 3,500 square feet of growing surface. The farms have a projected annual yield of 86,000 pounds of leafy greens and specialty herbs and approximately 13,000 pounds of fish by the final phase. The first harvest will take place later this year.
The fish and produce raised will be sold locally to restaurants and wholesalers, and at local farmers markets and community supported agriculture co-ops (CSA). The revenues will help sustain Solutions for Change programs.
But Solutions Farms’ most important output will be neither its produce nor its fish. This is, first and foremost, a social enterprise venture that combines job training, general education, and entrepreneurship for the benefit of Solutions’ families and the community. Solutions Farms will be an in-house platform that provides Solutions families an opportunity to acquire marketable, higher-wage skills running the gamut from technology to accounting, and marketing to sales. The farm will be an integral part of our commitment to giving people access to the skills, knowledge and resources they need to permanently solve their homelessness.
Many people are homeless because their work skills simply do not command a wage that lets them pay their living expenses. Breaking this cycle of working poverty means acquiring higher value skills, and that will be what Solutions Farms enables us to provide. The farm will be a living laboratory that brings together those needing higher value skills and community professionals who are willing to volunteer their knowledge. Solutions Farms will attract community investment of the time and effort to teach, to the ongoing benefit of our families.
Watch us grow!
*****Global Plastic Sheeting is a sponsor of this project by providing Plastic Sheeting.*****