Agave Farms started in 2015 and has since become a great place to learn about urban farming and sustainability. It has been our mission to work with non-profit groups to teach and help develop agricultural systems and gardening. At Agave Farms we now host several community gardens for charitable organizations such as Native Health, The International Rescue Committee, and neighborhood schools. We are also currently working with Life Lab to start a pilot program for Arizona and become a training center for teachers who can teach school children about sustainable agriculture.
In addition to working on our physical site on Central Avenue we knew we had to have outreach programs in other Urban areas in Arizona. In 2018 we began doing outreach by helping The Dream Church and Grace Lutheran Church build their gardens on their sites.
We realized we were limited by our own physical boundaries and that there is a need for these gardens and as a result of this outreach we recently have started a non-profit 501C3 called United Farm Education (UFE). This is an outcome of working with other nonprofits, schools and churches in our community with the goal of building gardens ideally in conjunction with schools or food kitchens. For 2019 our goal is to work with existing charitable groups and schools at their facilities. The organizations that we have chosen to work with include disadvantaged children and families that are subject to homelessness, or food scarcity. According to the “Map the Meal Gap” there are 585,000 people which is more than 14% of our population in Maricopa County with food insecurity. Food insecurity exists in every county and congressional district in the country, but not everyone struggling with hunger qualifies for federal nutrition assistance. Our mission is to teach urban gardening to underprivileged groups and children so they can learn how to grow and sustain food supply with good nutrition.
We have designed gardens and created cost estimates to develop specific budgets for each project. The organizations we are hoping to raise funds and build these gardens are: Canyon State Academy; The Espiritu School; Thrive AZ; The Phoenix Rehabilitation Center and UMOM.
One feature of each of these projects is our Ready Go Bag System, which was developed with help from large scale farmers, agronomists, and microbiologists to achieve ultimate growth and nutrition. This system can be planted anywhere including small spaces with access to a water spigot. No green thumb required! Anyone can plan and grow in the smallest spaces such as a balcony, patio, rooftops and even on hard surfaces like concrete driveways. Our system is very low water usage. The irrigation system that comes with our bag system is a low pressure, highly efficient drip system and waters where the plants are. There is no hand watering involved and can be set to adjust to the needs of what is planted. There is little need to know how the manage soil conditions; just set the timer to keep appropriate moisture. Very little weeding is necessary, saving many back-breaking hours. It was specifically developed to be an easy way to grow nutritious food for those that would not otherwise receive healthy, fresh food. The bag system soil is organic and composted to remove pathogens. We use a 9-month composting and mixing cycle which we consistently test. We feel we have created the best substrate on the planet. We have designed and developed a table to place the bags on for ease of gardening and to eliminate the need for bending and kneeling and working in the dirt. This is especially important for those that are physically challenged, giving them the opportunity to garden for themselves. This table also reduces weeding and the risk of small animals from introducing pathogens.
We need your help to assist, teach and help them build an urban farm onsite. We would love the opportunity to have you join us in raising funds and to learn more about the charities we are sponsoring on March 30th. Each organization will be there with sponsors to answer any questions you have about the cause and the proposed projects.
At the event itself we have a Blues Band that has played 4 times at the MIM an has been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and a 6-piece Jazz Band. We also have professional chef’s providing us with an amazing dinner cooked with garden-fresh ingredients! We will also have guests from the agriculture industry talking about seeds, farming soils and fertilizer, bees, chickens, and ways to help our children get more involved with gardening. Please consider sponsoring a table for our fundraising event at the farm. A platinum table seating 10 people is $1,000, a silver table seating 8 people is $500 and individual dinners are $35. This covers the cost of the dinner. We ask for your help to build these projects. You can volunteer time, money and or equipment and materials.
Thank you for helping us to continue with our goal of being a Keystone for Urban Agriculture in Arizona.