Project Description

It’s unjust Pajaro Valley community members, primarily Latinx farm workers and their families, suffer from chronic health issues due to food insecurity. Many of these farmworkers in Pajaro Valley are living in food prisons (aka food deserts). Food prisons (food deserts) are impoverished  areas without access to fresh produce because the neighborhoods lack wholesome food providers like grocery stores and farmers’ markets. In other words the neighborhoods are full of fast food restaurants, liquor stores, and convenient stores. Mesa Verdes Gardens is administering garden spaces for farmworker families to grow their own produce.

The Cultivando Mesas Verdes team in collaboration with the Community Agroecology Network (CAN) and Mesa Verde Gardens, created youth storytelling videos to highlight the Growing Justice youth program. The team hosted three workshops to teach youth about video production and video editing. Initially the storytelling video was for the Watsonville Film Contest, and a promotional tool for the partner organizations. However, the youth building their confidence in front of the camera became more important than entering a film contest. In addition to the videos, Mesas Verde Gardens sought out an automated system to send automated text messages, emails, and/or voice mails. The phone tree and automated system would improve internal communication between board members and garden members; sending reminders would take less time.  Overall, the purpose of the project was to support Mesa Verde Gardens reach more families, expand their network, and raise awareness about food injustice in the Pajaro Valley. 
See more videos here

Mesa Verde Gardens’ mission statement is to build and sustain a network of organic community gardens that promote the sharing of cultural practices and improves the overall health of families in the Pajaro Valley.

Growing Justice Youth within the Community Agroecology Network (CAN) 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) 

Read more info on CAN’s site