REDDING, Calif. — Providence International's "Garden of Hope," is a community farm in Redding that stands as a beacon of sustainable farming and community outreach, all while bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to local schools.
Located on Railroad Avenue, the farm is just one of two locations in Shasta County that were developed by the international charity organization.
Providence International is an organization dedicated to providing opportunities and support for at-risk individuals, including ex-offenders, recovery graduates, and youth. The Garden of Hope, according to Providence International's Domestic Director Steve Clester, aims to foster self-sufficiency and create a pathway to productive citizenship.
Although the Railroad farm primarily distributes fruits, vegetables and eggs, the farm has also provided greenhouses, nicknamed "microgreen labs," to several schools in and around Redding.
Volunteers at the farm explain that the greenhouses provided by the farm create a sustainable source of food and provide an educational tool to teach children about the origins of their meals.
Antonio Sanchez, a dedicated volunteer at Railroad Farm, collaborated with another volunteer to refine the blueprints of the greenhouses, ensuring they are both sustainable and durable for school environments. The greenhouses provide a platform for experiential learning, fostering curiosity, and fostering a deeper connection with the natural world.
"The greenhouses they mean a lot to me because it starts with the children, and if we can get the children learning how to grow their own food and be sustainable for the future, it would mean a lot for everybody."
The partnership between the farm and local schools marks a significant milestone for Providence, Clester explained.
By providing these "microgreen labs," students have the unique opportunity to witness the magic of plant growth, develop an appreciation for fresh, locally sourced food, and gain valuable insights into sustainable practices.