By Kathy Chouteau
Urban Tilth, a youth-led farm located in North Richmond, has just taken its spot as the city’s first permanent farm, according to the nonprofit. The news follows the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ vote Tues., Sept. 14 to unanimously approve the sale of a three acre plot of land to Urban Tilth. The organization has been leasing the land at the corner of Fred Jackson Way and Brookside Dr. for its farm for seven years.
Richmond resident Doria Robinson, executive director of Urban Tilth, said that “there is something powerful about being able to collectively hold and care for this land” that was once covered in trash. She added that the organization is deeply honored to have the opportunity to “heal the land so that we can grow healthy soil in order to continue to grow healthy foods for and with our community.”
Urban Tilth stated that it anticipates the land purchase from the County to enable it to further exemplify “the power and potential for food as a catalyst for transformation, equity and resilience in urban communities.” The organization also expects that the land ownership to solidify its role as a “neighborhood anchor that seeds healing, connection, self-determination and prosperity for the entire community” by being an epicenter of community “organizing and opportunity” in North Richmond.
Via its North Richmond Farm Project, Urban Tilth will look to double its food production and distribution efforts, as well as its local job opportunities, per the organization. It’s location near Wildcat Creek and San Pablo Creek also provide an ideal opportunity for watershed restoration education. Learn more about the North Richmond Farm Project’s future plans here.
Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia said that “transferring this County owned land to Urban Tilth empowers the community to complete their great North Richmond Farm Project” which he said “builds environmental stewardship, promotes health, sustains local agriculture and develops youth leadership.”
According to Urban Tilth, it has operated numerous sites spanning from the Richmond Greenway to Richmond High School for approaching two decades, including school and community gardens and small urban farms. The organization ultimately aims to educate, train and employ community members to undertake all roles—from growing to consuming—local produce so as to “create a more equitable and just food system within a healthier and more self-sufficient community.”
Learn more about Urban Tilth here.