State of the Farm from our new Farm Manager William Chen

New Farm Manager William Chen

New Farm Manager William Chen

My name is Will Chen and I am the new farm manager at Veggielution. I have always loved growing food and plants since I was a little kid and I come from a family of green thumbs. My grandparents and parents were mushroom growers in Gilroy until I was about 6, but since that business dried up we moved and stayed in San Jose. Although my family no longer farms, we still keep a small orchard and garden in our backyard today.

I started at Veggielution as a volunteer 4 years ago and immediately fell in love with the people and the place. Since then I have been an intern, seasonal farmhand, and an employee. Last year I left to expand my farming skills at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale and took over as manager there. This year, Veggielution provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime to rejoin their team as the farm manager and I could not refuse. There is so much I want to do for Veggielution. I hope we can all join together to make the farm a safe, fun and overall better place for the San Jose community. I am pleased and proud to be giving this year's first state of the farm report as farm manager and thank you for your ongoing support.

This year started out with a statewide drought emergency and as a responsible organic farmers we adjusted our water usage accordingly. I am closely monitoring our water meters to try and cut our overall usage by 20% as requested by Governor Jerry Brown in all areas of the farm. We are currently looking for resources and funding to help us improve our irrigation systems so that they can operate even more efficiently.

My continuous goal for Veggielution is to create a more accessible and sustainable food source to the local neighborhoods. My first project has been to reestablish on-site composting, and this has been a complete success. Together with the farm crew we now have a great composting system using our tractor and volunteer labor. We are creating the best type of fertilizer there is!! Farm projects like this reduce our need for imported compost and reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions during transportation and production of off site compost. As we move ahead I hope to implement other projects to make the farm more efficient, a better educational facility and community meeting spot.

I believe this will be a breakthrough year for Veggielution programs across the board. I am working hard with the farm crew to create stable and sustainable production to better serve all of us. We are working to expand our farm box program by providing additional pick up locations around downtown San Jose and a greater diversity of crops. This year we will try our hardest to produce a farm box that is both exciting and healthy! I especially want to thank our current farm box members - I will work hard to make this box a source of pride you can all show off to your friends and family.

We ended our winter fundraising drive with great success and see this as a great sign for the year to come. After five years of hard work, determination and big dreams Veggielution is now well grounded and has the potential to become the greatest urban farm California has ever seen. We could not do this without your support!!

Another way to support Veggielution is by becoming a Workday Leader, and attending our class which starts February 22nd. Workday Leaders are essential to running successful workdays. The workday leader program provides a platform for us to teach more in depth gardening and farming skills to the public. We love to empower anyone interested in growing as a community leader through these classes and I encourage anyone interested to email me for more details.

Lets be the movement that cultivates healthy communities and heals the Earth. It is your support that makes Veggielution strong and cohesive. Together we can educate, share, and learn about creating a healthier and stronger environment for the ourselves and future generations. Lets make this year about sustainable growth and community support! As the farm manager, I am committed to making Veggielution even better and I hope that you will join us in our cause.

Thank you for your time and I hope to meet all of you soon!