Due to food injustice in the Pajaro Valley community members, primarily Latinx farm workers and their families, suffer from chronic health issues. Many of these farmworkers in Pajaro Valley are living in food deserts. Food deserts are impoverished areas without access to fresh produce due to the lack of wholesome food providers like grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Mesa Verde Gardens administers garden spaces for farmworker families to grow their own produce.
Their mission is to increase self-reliance and food security while promoting community in their garden spaces in order to enhance collective well-being within these communities.
The purpose of our Cultivando Mesas Verdes project is to assist the Mesa Verde Gardens organization with their mission to promote healthy eating and self sufficiency for these families. Along with this, we will be working with the Growing Justice Youth from the Community Agroecology Network (CAN). The Growing Justice program seeks to motivate youth to think about food justice, community well-being, and urban gardens.
“CAN’s Growing Justice project, empowers youth & MVG gardeners to understand the interrelated challenges of food insecurity, violence & poor environmental quality; assess the significance of community gardens; and gain practical skills that empower them to advocate for & spearhead changes in their community.” -CAN (Growing Justice)
The Cultivando Mesas Verdes team will be creating two videos. The first video is a chance for youth to share their stories around working with Mesa Verde Gardens and being a part of the Growing Justice youth program. We will be creating and hosting a 3 day-long workshops in which we will teach the youth video production and editing skills. The Cultivando team will then compile all the youth filmed stories into one video for Community Agroecology Network (CAN) and Mesa Verde Gardens to use as a promotional tool. The second video will be an instructional tech video for the youth to reference when trying to revisit the video production process. In addition to the video projects, the team will also establish a phone tree for peer leaders of each community garden or orchard to access. The phone tree is just a stepping stone for automated text messages, emails, and/or voicemails to be sent out to the garden members. Overall, Mesa Verde Gardens wants to improve the communication between staff and garden members The Cultivando Mesas Verdes team is just the start to help Mesa Verde Gardens reach more families, expand their network, and continue to raise awareness about food injustice in the Pajaro Valley.