Irvine, California, had a 7-acre vacant lot that cost the city more than $4,000 a year to maintain. So the city met with Southern California Edison and the Second Harvest Food Bank and came up with a plan: the Incredible Edible Park. Instead of killing weeds, the city of Irvine grows vegetables.
According to the Irvine Wiki, up to 1,200 volunteers a year cultivate the gardens. The Second Harvest site says the number of volunteers is more like 4,000. Together, they grow, tend, and harvest broccoli, potatoes, watermelons, squash and more. It all helps feed the community’s thousands of hungry families who turn to food banks, soup kitchens, churches, and shelters.
More sponsors and supporters have come on board, including the Irvine Ranch Water District, Windwood Homeowners Associations, Orange County Farm Community, and El Camino Real Elementary. In the video posted by Growing Your Greens, you can see how extensive the fields are. It’s a small farm, with a bike path that winds through it. A lot of people have access to fresh, healthy food because of the vision that started with one man, A.G. Kawamura, California Secretary of Food and Agriculture.
Any city with vacant land could start something like this. What a hope-filled idea.