Today we’d like to introduce you to Kesha Spoor and Javier Guerrero.
Kesha and Javier, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Coastal Roots Farm is located in Encinitas, CA at Leichtag Commons, a 67.5-acre property that was purchased in Winter 2012. The property serves as a platform for Jewish programming and connecting to the earth and food.
The Farm became a 501(c)(3) public charity in Winter 2015 with the mission to cultivate healthy, connected communities by integrating sustainable agriculture, food justice, and ancient Jewish wisdom.
Since inception, we have distributed approximately 150,000 pounds of fresh organic produce to the community. We provide dignified access to fresh food for those who need it most through our on-site pay-what-you-can Farm Stand, no-cost mobile pop-up Farm Stands at Camp Pendleton and Vista Community Clinic, no-cost deliveries to local Holocaust survivors in need, and direct donations to hunger relief organizations. To date, we have donated approximately 70 percent of our harvest.
We also provide hands-on farm-based education and events to people of all ages and backgrounds including School and Group Visits, Open Volunteer Opportunities, Farm Tours, Farm Camp, regular community events, and Jewish agricultural festivals. Our urban farm provides a unique learning environment for students, families, and the community to connect to food, the land, Jewish values, and each other.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The Farm’s produce donation program was established in 2014 to produce healthy, sustainably grown food and make it accessible to the community. San Diego County has one of the nation’s largest populations of people (one in eight people including one in six children) facing food insecurity.
At Coastal Roots Farm, we understand that our impact is limited by the amount of land we have to grow food and that even with infinite space, other barriers to access exists for the most vulnerable members of our community.
Over the years we have refined our programs in attempt to meet the overwhelming need. For example, whereas our monthly food distribution at Vista Community Clinic used to operate on a pay-what-you-can model similar to our on-site Farm Stand, we learned how significant the need was in that community and changed the program to be completely free of charge. Today, our fundraising efforts largely work to support Coastal Roots Farm’s commitment to providing regular food access to these communities.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Coastal Roots Farm – what should we know?
Coastal Roots Farm is a non-profit Jewish community farm and education center. We specialize in both food production using sustainable methods of farming and in farm-based education that brings community members of all ages and backgrounds together for hands-on experiences that deepen our relationship to the land, Jewish tradition, and our greater community.
We are proud to deliver farm-fresh produce to local Holocaust survivors in need. As a Jewish farm, it is our honor to provide nutritious produce to these cherished individuals and meaningfully connect them to the San Diego Jewish community.
Our largest event of the year is the Sukkot Harvest Festival. Sukkot is a Jewish agricultural holiday in the fall that celebrates the end of an abundant summer harvest and welcomes in the rainy season. Ancient Jewish sages refer to Sukkot as ushering in “the season of our joy.” More than 1,500 community members gather joyfully on the Farm to enjoy local food and live music, reconnect with Earth’s cycles, and participate in unique family-friendly activities that teach about the holiday. The next Sukkot Harvest Festival is scheduled for October 20, 2019.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Coastal Roots Farm is a living Jewish farm, making practices that are thousands of years old relevant lessons for today. We strive to do everything with kavanah (intention). These practices inform how we grow produce, share belongings, treat neighbors, observe the passing of time, celebrate and improve, care for plants and animals, and create a vibrant, welcoming community.
Values such as Kayamut (ecological sustainability), Tsa’ar Ba’alei Chaim (kind, humane treatment of animals), K’vod Briut (the dignity of all creations), and Peah (lining the corners of one’s field with food for the stranger and poor) are the basis for our commitment to food justice.
- Farm Stand: pay-what-you-can (up to $30 of produce at no cost)
- School and Group Visits: $250 for up to 30 students, scholarship available!
- Farm Camp: $65/day or $300/week
- Farm Tours: $18 suggested donation
- Jewish Agricultural Festivals: $18/adult, $9/child suggested donation
- Address: 441 Saxony Road
Encinitas, CA 92024
- Website: www.coastalrootsfarm.org
- Phone: 760-479-6505
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/coastalrootsfarm
- Facebook: facebook.com/coastalrootsfarm
- Twitter: twitter.com/coastalrootsca