Students at Pitzer College have run Huerta del Valle as an off-site community partnership of the college, located in Claremont, CA, since 2012. Huerta del Valle farm is 4 acres and growing, with 3 acres in production, which include 62 family community gardens. The non-profit organization and community garden are intended to create opportunities for community members to grow nutritious food inexpensively while learning about organic farming. Another large section of the farm is devoted to growing produce for sale by students. In total, student and community gardeners grow about 15,000 pounds of vegetables per year, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, many kinds of greens, beets, and carrots, along with about 1,000 pounds of mint, sage, lemongrass, lavender, and other herbs annually.
College: Pitzer College
Location: Ontario, California
Size: 4 acres (approximately 174,240 square feet)
Sales and distribution: Student farmers at Huerta del Valle sell and deliver to the campus food service provider, Bon Appétit Management Company, on the day of harvest. Students also sell to a weekly on-campus market share program as well as to two student-run restaurants. The produce harvested from each community plot is used by the community members who tend each plot.
Management structure: Huerta del Valle is a non-profit organization with support and sponsorship from Pitzer College and other partners. The farm is run by a non-profit board including staff and faculty from Pitzer, and maintained by community members and volunteers.
Financial model: Huerta del Valle operates on produce sales supplemented by grant funding. Pitzer students have built a largely self-sustaining farm, using grant funds to support education and start-up costs as well as programs and services for the community and community garden.
Unique Features: Huerta del Valle and Pitzer College have a symbiotic relationship. Pitzer College benefits from having a source of nutritious, local food at affordable prices. Students can then consume this healthy food and use it to drive their studies, both in and outside of the farm. Beyond this, Huerta del Valle offers internships and even jobs to students post-graduation. The support from sales to Bon Appetit Management Company at Pitzer College allows the garden to thrive as well as offer access to good food to low-income people in the neighborhood.
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