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 to start a pilot program for Arizona to 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 Thrive AZ 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 Urban Farm Education (UFE) as 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 scools 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 ahttps://dreamcitychurch.us/nd 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 for are: The Espiritu School; Thrive AZ; and UMOM New Day Centers
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 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.