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Healthy Jurupa Valley’s Gardens & Markets Volunteer Day

Healthy Jurupa Valley’s Gardens & Markets Volunteer Day

Part of Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative is developing strong partnerships. It’s safe to say that Habitat Riverside heavily involved with the City of Jurupa Valley and Non-Profit Reach-Out through collaborative efforts of Healthy Jurupa Valley. Healthy Jurupa Valley is comprised of four action teams all of which revolve around health; Access to Health Services & Resources, Arts & Recreation, Community Safety & Readiness, and Gardens & Markets. AmeriCorps Members Daniel, Jenna and Azhar as well as Christine (NRI Manager) are part of each of these action teams.

In efforts to get the Gardens & Markets group more involved, Azhar organized the first community volunteer day at a local farm. Unity Farms has been part of the community since 2009 and has welcomed volunteers from the community to learn, participate and enjoy the fruits of their labor (literally). The farm itself is an 8-acre USDA certified organic farm owned by a very passionate young man, Gabriel Ruiz and his family. Similar to a farm share, customers can call in two hours before to have a box of freshly picked goodies (vegetable goodies that is).

The morning began with a thorough tour of the farm. The group was energetic, asking various specific questions they’ve encountered when working in their own gardens. ‘What are some companion crops for Cauliflower?’, and ‘How do you combat gofers? were asked. Questions also arose in regards to planting, harvesting and mixing crops.

Throughout the tour, Gabriel would pick a few broccoli, Russian kale, Purple Cauliflower and distribute pieces of the vegetables to the group. The group was amazed to find each of the crops having distictive tastes. One said “the broccoli tastes buttery-sweet”. Gabriel pulled out an alien looking vegetable from the ground Kohlrabi and handed it to one of the volunteers. Azhar was astound by its foreign appearance.

Midway into the tour, the group began weeding 4 rows of crops. Removing anything but the rainbow chard. Some of the volunteers chose to weed using their bare hands but most took precautionary measures. A few carrots were mistakenly pulled. Their short stubby shapes were evident of its accidental premature harvest. The group worked fast at weeding completed in 15 minutes.

Towards the end, Gabriel surprised the volunteers with freshly picked Cabbage, Broccoli, Rainbow Chard, and Kale to take home as a token of their volunteer work. The group also received free water bottles donated by Jurupa Community Services District.

  1. Lilly M. Cardoza08-20-14

    hello Mr. Ruiz

    Our agency with partnership of Habitat for Humanity Riverside is currently getting ready to launch a new program: Healthy VET Program. We would like to ask if you would be available or interested in conducting a presentation on Eating Healthy from a Home Garden. Share knowledge, tips and experiences and of course the benefits of your own garden.
    I look forward to hear back from you. You may reach me via email or my desk phone: [content removed]
    thank you for your time Mr. Ruiz!

    Lilly Cardoza

  2. Christine Morgando08-21-14

    Hi Lilly! Someone from our office will be in contact with you shortly to connect you to Unity Farms.