On a chilly winter morning at Dig Deep Farms & Produce’s (DDFP) Firehouse farm site, the crops are covered with blankets to protect them from frost, and there are two tables set up close to the farm’s entrance: one table with bags of fresh produce, and another bags full of goodies including calendars, a starter garden and seeds. The DDFP crew members are in the background, washing freshly picked chard and kale to put into the produce bags, and unloading carrots delivered that morning from their local partner, Veritable Vegetable.
Women who have participated in Ashland-Cherryland’s Food to Families program begin to arrive. After a few minutes, Hank, General Manager of DDFP, introduces the farm crew and begins to speak about the history of DDFP. Started by the Alameda County’s Deputy Sheriffs’ Activities League a couple years ago, there are currently 3 DDFP sites—the Firehouse, which was their first site and still acts as their home base; down the street from the Firehouse is the Pacific Apparel site, where a greenhouse has been built and in a few weeks a farm stand will open!; and large eight-acre City View Farm on Camp Sweeney Juvenile Hall’s land, where an orchard is growing. They expect to start working on a new 35 acre site in Castro Valley soon, where they plan to raise sheep and goats!
The F2F participants and their families listen, with Food to Families Health Education Instructor, Camila, interpreting as needed. To close the tour, Hank shows the folks in attendance what DDFP currently has growing in their Firehouse plots—lots of green vegetables like Red Russian Kale and Collard Greens. As the women leave this DDFP site, they collect their bag prepared by the local WIC, containing calendars and seeds, and their big bag of beautiful fresh produce from Dig Deep Farms & Produce!
Written by Nora Downs