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Big Wave Farm and Garden goals:

  • Develop, maintain and improve a sustainable, year-around, food production system that will supply the daily requirement of fresh fruit, salad greens, vegetables and eggs for our residents and kitchen.
  • Residents learn how to grow their food and raise eggs in an organic and sustainable manner using the Square Foot Gardening method.
  • Develop farm-related micro-businesses that will provide employment opportunities for our residents.
  • Create, develop, maintain and improve a place and opportunity for our residents to experience ‘Community’, ‘Discovery’, ‘Wonder’, ‘Learning’ and ‘Nature Encounters’.

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Methods:

  • Use of the Square Foot Gardening method of sustainable food production.
  • Organic methods. (About 1/3 of soil mix is compost which is rich in organic nutrients)
  • Simple system. Each 1 foot by 1 foot square can be used for a distinct ‘crop’.
  • Soil Conservation (Employs non-renewable peat moss, vermiculite) and Big Wave–grown compost.
  • Land conservation (Square Foot Gardening method requires 80% less space than traditional row crop method)
  • Water conservation (Since 80% less space is used, water too is conserved.  The nature of vermiculite and peat is that that they both retain water well. )
  • Adaptation and utilization of the ‘Square Foot Gardening’ curriculum to train in food production.
  • Big Wave will research and start-up viable, funded, revenue generating, farm-related businesses which will provide employment opportunities for our residents.
  • Inclusion of ‘Garden Encounter’ and/or ‘Community’ building activities and/or discussion during Farm Days and Farm activities. Design of Farm/Garden to include spaces for this purpose.

Beginnings

In 2011, Big Wave decided to farm a small plot on its property. The intent was to learn how to grow fruit and vegetables in a sustainable manner for the eventual Big Wave residential facility. The residential plan calls for at least a 5 acre parcel available for farming and egg production. Traditional rows were tilled and planted with blueberries, blackberries and vegetables. The team was encouraged by the fact that there was a plentiful source of water, rich soil with a high volume aquifer and well.

Facts

The microclimate at Big Wave provides the ability to grow a full spectrum of fruits and vegetables necessary to satisfy both the daily nutritional and caloric requirement for most, if not all residents. Cost of Farm/Garden production is minimized by the use of donated land (Big Wave LLC) and an ample aquifer.

Challenges

It soon became apparent that it would be difficult to deliver sustainable production using the row crop method. We discovered that weed control would be a constant challenge for our residents going forward. Production was curtailed until another solution could be found. As the Farm was being transformed into a ‘Community’ space, it became more difficult to use traditional farming methods of maintenance.

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Today

  • The Square Foot Gardening method is the primary food production system in use. The current Farm structure supports, raised-bed, container, vertical and row types of growing fruit and vegetables.
  • The farm hosts 2 adult day programs that visit 5 days a week to learn about growing produce and practice job skills. The farm also hosts visitors from other adult day programs, elementary schools, San Francisco State University and other groups including Visa, TechSoup, Stanford Alumni Association, friends of Big Wave and the local coastside communities.
  • Farm days are held on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month and are aimed at maintaining and improving the farm. Projects have included: building two horse shoe pits, composting bins, planting planter barrels, constructing trellises, painting the chicken coop, and more.
  • The  farm committee continues their education by connecting with other resources including: Garden for the Environment SF, Pie Ranch, CRAFT (small farmer education), Master Gardeners and U.S.D.A. They also collaborate with other small organic farms, take classes and attend conferences to improve upon their current methods.

How You Can Help

  • Encourage potential residents to attend Farm Day and other Big Wave activities.
  • Participate at Farm Days as a family.
  • Volunteer to serve on Farm and Garden leadership team.
  • Donate time and/or financial resources to fund the farm/garden.
  • Follow Big Wave Project on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/BigWaveProject/