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Alright. Hello! Good evening, everybody. My name is Francis Craig, and I'm the most of scene story the work of other people and organizations working in to build solid already around issues.
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I have my co-worker, Renee, with me, offering time support.
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Thank you, Renee, this month we are in live conversation with so on.
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Tie, and Ryan here spaces of opportunity, which is a 19 acre farming thought that I shared.
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But unity, arbit, organization, thank you. Major Farms located in Phoenix, Arizona.
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This is a really special scene for you, because for the first half of the hour, we're going to be showing a farm tour video.
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So a few weeks ago Renee and I went out, and that so on, and then we work together to get this view up for you guys.
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Oh, so I'm gonna go ahead and queue up the phone to her, and then afterwards we will chat with.
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So on, and then to know them in the space a little, or if any questions come up during the video, feel free to drop them in the chat, and we will queue them at the end.
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Thanks again for joining us for monthly seed.
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Sorry. And I'm gonna go ahead and roll that phone for video.
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Gummies. Catalyst. Yeah. My name is Ryan.
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There, I'm the executive director for spaces of opportunity.
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I've been in my role all of 2 months now, and I'm the first executive director.
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And so we're just still forming as an organization of what spaces really is as a nonprofit farm in the land has been under development for 8 to 10 years, gone through a couple of different stages of growth and we're just now forming as our own organization to figure out how we can have
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More stability and more kind of structure around what it is that we do
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Yeah. And my name is Suan Ty. I am the community farmer here.
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At spaces of opportunity. I've been involved in this projects since about 2,017.
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Sardis, one of the first incubator, farmers, and then just over time.
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Gradually I started taking a higher role as far as coordination, planning, managing land.
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At 1 point and then working, working to make sure that we have the the various facilitators that we need to be a place to make our programs work as well as make sure.
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All the cultivators and farmers. Have what they need have the resources they need, as far as whether it be track to work, whether it be basic knowledge, kind of help, generate the next generation of who's gonna go.
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Our phone here, not just in Phoenix, but across across State destination.
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Yes, pretty much.
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All right. So this is our walking cooler. It's made out of a shipping container a 40 foot shipping container is a tall boy, so it's a little bit taller.
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It's about 9 and a half feet by 8 feet wide by 40 feet deep.
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Can kind of come in here a little bit. Might get a little bit noisy.
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It's fully insulated. So this is a I'm gonna get a little bit technical.
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But this is a R. 30 rating, which is the standard industry standard for the typical refrigeration unit with different that we do versus the typical commercial grade refrigerators as we actually because we're low budget we have these things called a cool BoT basically what it is it's
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A microcontroller that's hooked up to a window.
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A/C it's it's simple and also ingenious.
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So basically, this thing has a heating element in it that tricks it and thinking that it's always hot.
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So it's always on. These things. Run 24, over 7, 7 days a week.
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365 days a year. So over there those mobile food cards we have used them for cooking demonstrations kind of in the past.
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I don't like to do more of them. They're already certified by the Health Department and everything we've used them for fundraisers where we're cooking food and stuff.
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But yeah, they definitely also donated by the legacy foundation shout out, but yeah, I would like to get way.
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More use out of them than we currently do. So what we're currently standing right now is our basically our processing and washing station.
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There's 3 sinks here as per the Health Department requirements it's a concrete slab top.
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You can see the the shade over top because we didn't have shade before.
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In the summer this place is like an oven, so, having that extra layer of shade is really really helpful.
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Ideally, we want a more permanent structure. But we're kind of just waiting on funding right now to get that done.
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Everything here is plumbed hot and cold water, and then
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The gray water that gets washed that comes from these sinks goes back into this garden, then we have composting and stuff over here as well, because there's a lot of waste when you're processing and packaging and everything so we make sure we keep that in the
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Food, cycle basically
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Yeah, this wasn't always here we used to. We used to do everything in like basically plastic tubs back in the day from like the hood.
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From what we have a house out here. When I first got here this none of this was here.
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We were. We were farming where the where the market area was like our little community garden.
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Everything else was just an empty lot. There was no bathrooms, for, like 2 years we had to share a porter potty.
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Yeah, we had no running water, no electricity. But thanks to Desi, Botanical Garden and Fund, the farm we're able to build a lot of really cool infrastructure, for sure.
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See? So here, at our cold storage area, kind of serves as our distribution point and so you know why we we have a limited space in our one cold storage unit.
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It serves as a really crucial component of dealing with produce longevity, especially during the summer, when we get really hot, you know, temperatures, and that can make produce built not have a long shelf life.
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This is where, farmers will aggregate their their producer, and you came in an off season, so we don't really have too much that's going on right now.
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But we do aggregate the produce from the farmers, and this is sold during our harvest table, which is during our regular farmers market, and then also is tied in with a program called Fresh Connections with one of our partners.
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Unlimited potential in the orchard Community Learning Center, who helped to bag purchase produce from our farmers, bag it, and then deliver it to low-income households at no cost, and so that's one of the programs that we're trying to also figure out you know how we
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can develop that of balancing the needs for purchasing produce at cost, but also making it accessible to folks who might not have high purchasing power, and so how can we offset some of those costs and have it available in different markets all right so where we're now is our market area
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it's our shaded structure. It's been a really crucial component of spaces.
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As far as allowing folks to come out and be a little bit more comfortable, comfortable, especially in the summer.
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Right now. We have our market every Saturday in the morning.
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Right now was running like what? 8 to 12. Something like that in the summer? 9 to one.
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Yeah, 9 to one. Right now, in the summer it'll go from like 8 to 12.
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And this is where we set up our co-OP, our Co-OP is actually called our Harvest Co-OP.
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So that's one pretty much sponsored by spaces run by unlimited potential.
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And the orchard community learning center. And it's it's a good time when you come out here.
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We have a handful of conservative vendors that are coming out selling all sorts of things, honey kind of trinkets and clothing.
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Some folks are are selling produce. Some farmers come out, and sell their produce as well, not as much as I would like, but it does happen from from time to time.
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We have a we have a snap program out here that allows folks who were come to purchase produce to actually do the double-up bucks program so they can actually get twice as much produces as as as funds that they have we have an information desk out here and then from time
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To time we'll have kind of different events we have. We've had Lucia Dodas out here doing wrestling all sorts of dancers, music, live bands from time to time, and then when this is not a market.
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This is a community space I've seen people come out here and do Yoga martial arts just general gatherings and meetings, and then also we do events out here as well.
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So people will do fundraisers out here. People will use it, as I think people have tried to do, kind of smaller style style.
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Markets. But yeah, we we definitely get a lot of a lot of use out of this space and it's probably our most popular area as far as foot traffic goes.
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Yeah. The shade structures, I think, are also a crucial component to to hold out.
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This is the first, like major infrastructure investment.
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That also allowed for you know us to be out here in the hot weather, and which is crucial here in Phoenix during the warmer months, by support from the the Sprouts foundation.
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And yeah, being able to hold a regular market, I think, is a crucial component of what spaces can be and being able to have regular and consistent access to fresh produce in a community that has not been the most resource in that way.
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And then also, you know, thinking a lot about how a market attached to land cultivation can help produce economic opportunities for folks that are from the community and so how this can be a space to help support more local vendors and arts and crafts and and musicians and things that nature to have a
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Space to actually bring in some income in addition to food producers, we have our food carts here that allow for hot and cold food demonstrations.
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And you know they're up to environmental codes, and so that this could be used as ways to help support.
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You know aspiring chefs and cooks to develop business ideas and strategies we're not there yet, but thinking about, you know, as we grow the market and are able to get more of a presence from the community and are able to be more, I think, aware from from the local community folks of what we're
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Doing and that this is something that's for them, which is often often attention when you're thinking of.
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You know, food access and farmers market style programs and long- communities.
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There often often associated with displacement and higher income bracket folks.
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And so, you know, trying to make sure that folks feel welcome, that this is a place that's for them, and is really, you know, a community gathering space and venue that can help, you know, create some economic opportunities as I think the the long-term vision of what we're doing here.
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So thinking about those kind of pipelines and processes of how people can come, as you know, an interest or an aspiring vendor, or cook or farmer, and have opportunities to kind of learn how to develop their skills and develop their business models as we're able to get more more resources
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and support around them
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Yeah, we are standing here at our our watering access system that's tied into the canals taken from the Salt River.
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Everything that we water and irrigate here on the land is tied into the canal system that runs through 3 laterals that go the length of the land.
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And so we order water by the acre foot and helped to irrigate crops along each lateral line.
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That then goes broken up into the different plots of land that we have through a gated system that allows us to open and close gates into the different laterals and into the different plots.
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Some of our farmers here are farming with solely flood irrigation, others are filling up water tanks that are being fed into drip irrigation lines.
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So we have a lot of different kind of practices that are being used here, and different kind of approaches that you know folks from all over the world are bringing with them where we have farmers from countries in different climates that are familiar with doing certain types of practices and you know, places like Northern
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Iraq, or Sedan, and are applying that to the desert.
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Here, while others are trying a little bit more noon. Innovative and technical systems like dripper irrigation
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So one of the cool things about our irrigation system here, I mean one.
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It's cool that we get this really cheap water that for some reason Arizona gets.
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But we go off the Srp. Canal system, which the entire canal system is actually built off.
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The original indigenous autumn canals that were here before civilization was here.
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All we did was really pay over them, and kind of set up gate, so they can be redirected.
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But, as you can see, the this canal that we're sending by right, and was here way before any any of this development was here.
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And then we've just separated that into 3 different laterals that can kind of feed the farm in a more efficient way.
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We've added a little bit of improvements to to the wire system, and for we have an open canal here but for the rest of the farm, instead of having open canals like we used to, we actually have it all piped so we can get into the technical details about the width of the
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Pipe. But but basically there's the there's 3 laterals that are about 12 to 8 inches, and I am ready to go all the way down east to west, and then from there it splits off to the different parcels and that way we can feed not only can we feed multilaterals at once
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We can feed multiple parcels at once and kind of like, Ryan said, there's a bunch of ways people are are watering, whether it's straight up flood and just flooding their entire plot.
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Some folks are Pope are pumping the flood water into the water tanks and then doing drip or overhead irrigation from that.
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Some people are doing a combination. It's it's we really welcome the innovation of folks, especially for farmers, when it comes to water.
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In particular, just because that's such a precious resource right now.
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And it's only getting more and more pressures. So ideally, we have all these different systems that people are trying out.
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This is a great incubation space for that, and then whichever is the most efficient people can adopt and and and work with as they choose.
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Yeah. Right now is the is the unlimited, unlimited potential garden on the east Side.
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There's stuff like Nopal agave different cactus alovera.
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And then on the on the west side. This more their vegetables.
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So our community garden models, I think, kind of their original idea of spaces.
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If I'm not mistaken, give me a confirmation kind of having places for community to learn how to farm.
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Yeah, yeah, basically, so yeah, so we have, I think it's about 4 acres of land.
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Is all right, and some fact fact checked me all right.
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So we got about 2 and a half acres, dedicated to community gardeners, where we have around 220 individual plots that are 5 foot by 50 feet.
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We have about 55 community members who are gardening over that.
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And so they're able to rent an individual plot.
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And some people have multiple plots for $5 a month per plot to grow their own food and to come out and try to, you know, get their hand at gardening, and and learn how to produce food on their own, and provide them some support around that it's currently being helped coordinate by the
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Tiger, Mountain foundation. And you have people are just able to kind of get exposed to what it means to grow their own food, and where their foods comes from, and in hopes that you know they're able to develop their school set into going into the incubator stage, but that's a really
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Big jump, you know, if you're not familiar going from, or it would be 200 square feet into a quarter acre is a massive jump in a significant amount.
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More labor and investment and kind of time and attention that goes towards it.
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So it doesn't work for everybody. But you know, trying to get people to to enter into growing food in a way that makes sense to them.
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In the community garden really being our kind of jump-off point for pretty much the path that we're walking all the paths, all the major past the major roads that, like cars, drive down are lined with edible fruit trees.
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He said. It doesn't taste good. Oh, it depends on how much water.
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Yeah. It depends on how much water they got. But yeah, so these are.
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These were planted by a couple different organizations, in conjunction with spaces, trees.
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Matter is planted. Greg Peterson has come out and planted.
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Project Roots is donated to some trees so, but these are all community trees, and by that it means by that I mean the folks.
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It's it's first come first serve so you can see the loaded up with citrus.
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Now going typically going east to west, are going to be citrus trees and then going north to south, you're gonna find things like apples, stone fruit, figs, mulberries.
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What else we have in there? Pomegranates, pretty much everything else.
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And yeah, these are free for
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You will boot with your other one. These, yeah.
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So the community come out here full of bag full of it, and that that way they can enjoy the space and enjoy the fruits and it makes a little bit more welcoming for for for people to come out here and participate and maybe that's like their introduction to be hey?
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You know I want some citrus and stuff like that.
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I get people asking me if we're if we're selling the lemons.
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I always tell them it's free. Just come on and talk to us about it more than enough.
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Yeah, is it? Yeah? Well, not always more than this year. No one's really been picking them.
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So tell your friends, take your moms. Come out here and get some.
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I make lemonade every Saturday for my volunteers.
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Nice. But but yeah, no, it's cool. And then in a couple months, when when Mark rolls around some of the best pieces you ever had in your entire life, tremendous, yeah, come on down.
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You got any car carrots in the entire plot and in the entire farm by my plot.
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But it's just baby. I got a I got a car car.
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Come quat I got. I got the rare ones. Those are my 2 favorites.
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The car. Yeah, listen. Really. Yeah. I was tremendous.
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So this area that we're at is kind of like the kicking off point for the most part of our incubator farming program.
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And so the majority of the land here is dedicated to the incubator farmers.
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We have, I think it's around 24, quarter acre plots that right now we have 15 people farming.
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So a couple people have a half acre, an acre, and up to an acre and a half, and most of them are quarter acre plots.
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Amen is really trying to support people learning how to start up a farming business and learning how to grow for livelihood and for income and and economic revenue.
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So trying to figure out ways, to be able to provide more support and get more resources and staffing to help people develop their business and learning.
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The you know, hard skills needed for best ecological practices and how to produce efficiently here in the desert.
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But for the most part people are are left to their own strategies and techniques for farming.
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You see, we have just here a number of different approaches, with the water tanks going into drip line.
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Irrigations, and then in the back we have more flooding flood.
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Direct flood irrigation systems. Farmers sell through our harvest, which is our farmers market.
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The fresh connections program that was already mentioned, and then are also going to different farmers.
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Markets throughout the county. Some sell to restaurants and the food bank and kind of find different venues and outlets for their foods.
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We also have a pretty big international community here. And so some some folks are growing seeds, you know.
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They brought with them, and some of the foods that are going into more.
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You know, markets that are more associated with kind of foods, and produce from their homelands the incubator program has been really crucial, as particularly, I mean, in my life, in my work, but I know to the rest of the farmers, as most of us know, land is not easy to come by and and not
00:24:10.000 --> 00:24:32.000
cheat, to acquire, and maintain, and then also for folks who may not have as much like experience growing or even farming the incubator farm program allows them to basically have a training grounds to learn what we' and what doesn't work in the environment what growing style they want to do what crops
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they want to grow, and then also having the small community of 15 or so farmers a allows us all to kind of learn from each other, and and then also share secrets.
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We share resources as far as like. Oh, which restaurants buying this how can I?
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How can I set this up kind of just giving giving each other shortcuts and a lot of times?
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It's advice, and even helping hands from time to time.
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So it's really important to be communal in that aspect here.
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It's actual requirement that's been really helpful, like, Ryan, said one of the most important resources we provide is is the our harvest Co-OP.
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So our harvest is purchasing produce from the farmers at retail value, which is really important, and you're not gonna really get that too many other places as far as distribution centers and stuff like that.
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And then like the like. We've mentioned previously, that stuff goes to different meal programs.
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It goes to the markets, goes to restaurants, and different aggregators around the city food.
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Banks is another one, that it that it goes through. Yeah.
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And then another thing that you're also getting with with the Incubator farm program, you can access the tools we have a four-wheel and a 2 wheel tractor here that will help basically do terraforming and and and working your plot for you so you don't have to
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Do it by hand, which is not easy, believe me, and then you have access to flood irrigation water right?
00:26:12.000 --> 00:26:28.000
It's pretty cheap as it is. But we tried to to to keep prices as low as we possibly can, and then also access to a cold storage unit which is super duper, important for harvesting
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The resources that are attached to what needs to be, to to coordinate so so much.
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You know, this is a significant amount of land, and for me to walk into it.
00:26:36.000 --> 00:26:43.000
You know, as the first executive director like, it's very big of a project to try to form an organization at this point.
00:26:43.000 --> 00:26:47.000
So. Yes, it's a tricky situation to you.
00:26:47.000 --> 00:26:48.000
'll be able to put a container on it and put some structure around it.
00:26:48.000 --> 00:26:52.000
Of what we're doing. We're trying to do.
00:26:52.000 --> 00:26:54.000
And what's the expectation? And not just have that beyond a piece of paper, you know.
00:26:54.000 --> 00:27:06.000
But to be able to actually connect with people and make sure that they're able to live up to those expectations and follow through, you know, not using chemicals or pesticides.
00:27:06.000 --> 00:27:24.000
And that doesn't happen here. But to be able to regulate something like that and have someone who can check in and make sure that's what the practices and all that can be tricky
00:27:24.000 --> 00:27:47.000
00:27:47.000 --> 00:27:52.000
Alright, who's still with me out there
00:27:52.000 --> 00:27:59.000
I hope everybody still is so. Want to see you let's see, did Ryan.
00:27:59.000 --> 00:28:07.000
So I'm first going to give the space to.
00:28:07.000 --> 00:28:15.000
So on to introduce himself. And share a little bit about his story with cases of opportunity, because he has been there for hey?
00:28:15.000 --> 00:28:31.000
Very long time, and has seen something with to come on out and talk a little bit about his story.
00:28:31.000 --> 00:28:42.000
Hey? Everyone, how you doing? Yeah. First of all, I want to thank Renee and and Francis for for having this and doing this cool video on spaces.
00:28:42.000 --> 00:28:50.000
Second of all, I noticed that watching that video, great videos, great video, I got a smile.
00:28:50.000 --> 00:28:57.000
More man, like Hey, this is a cool place. This is like a really fun place to be, and I think that that day I must have been building like raised beds, or something like that.
00:28:57.000 --> 00:29:11.000
But I promised the phone place. Yeah. So a little bit about me, born to raise here in Phoenix I spent most of my time on the south side but I've kind of lived everywhere.
00:29:11.000 --> 00:29:21.000
I first got the spaces. I think I mentioned it in the video in 2,017, as one of the first incubator farmers.
00:29:21.000 --> 00:29:31.000
There, I think at that time want to say there was like 5 of us, and then maybe, like 1015 community gardeners.
00:29:31.000 --> 00:29:36.000
Yeah, so I, I started there, I I started with a core acre plot.
00:29:36.000 --> 00:29:49.000
Then went up to half Maker, and then, just as more people began began to become involved, they asked me to start
00:29:49.000 --> 00:30:00.000
Stepping into more of an like an admin role. So I I became the computer farm coordinator for a little and then eventually that graduate into the land manager of the property.
00:30:00.000 --> 00:30:09.000
And now I work mostly with desert Tentacle Garden, who's one of the the 5 major partners of spaces?
00:30:09.000 --> 00:30:21.000
So that's mostly what I do now is is work with desert 10 of garden as far as building their their garden in that plot, and then also coolordinate volunteers as well.
00:30:21.000 --> 00:30:28.000
Yeah, that's a little bit about me. I mean, feel free to ask me whatever questions you have
00:30:28.000 --> 00:30:32.000
Cool. Thank you. So on the questions we'll definitely have time before, and for those of you that are in Phoenix stay tuned.
00:30:32.000 --> 00:30:40.000
We're gonna be scheduling a volunteer day to come out and help with.
00:30:40.000 --> 00:30:57.000
So on. Oh, I want to invite Ryan to introduce himself, share his background, and and how he found his way to spaces, and how he sees his role as the first executive
00:30:57.000 --> 00:30:58.000
Yeah, thank you. And thank you for inviting us into your space and sharing this with everyone.
00:30:58.000 --> 00:31:06.000
Yes, so my name's Ryan. There I am.
00:31:06.000 --> 00:31:16.000
The current executive director for spaces of opportunity been here since the middle of October, so still kind of fresh out into Phoenix and Arizona and spaces.
00:31:16.000 --> 00:31:21.000
It's itself. My background. More comes from working in the Bay area in California.
00:31:21.000 --> 00:31:31.000
In San Francisco and Oakland, and other spaces in the bay, working around community food systems, food, equity and community leadership work.
00:31:31.000 --> 00:31:48.000
And how that's linked around kind of community organizations and and getting community members involved in processes around decision making and and making changes within their lives.
00:31:48.000 --> 00:31:54.000
And then how that's linked to public policy and redirecting resources.
00:31:54.000 --> 00:32:15.000
And looking at the public access to land and spaces in their community, and jump around the Bay area for a while, and ended up having a friend who had moved to Phoenix years ago and was talking about wanting to get back to working with the land more closely and this was looking for an
00:32:15.000 --> 00:32:17.000
Executive director, and on a whim I kinda decided to apply for it.
00:32:17.000 --> 00:32:22.000
Not knowing what I was getting myself into, and moving to the desert, and I decided to do that and take the jump.
00:32:22.000 --> 00:32:33.000
And so, yeah, so you know, spaces have been around for a number of years.
00:32:33.000 --> 00:32:35.000
We're just now forming as a 501 c.
00:32:35.000 --> 00:32:52.000
3, with me, being the first executive director in that role so there's a lot to kind of figure out what the organization is and how is that distinguished from a lot of the founding groups and founding organizations that have been a part of of getting things off the ground and what
00:32:52.000 --> 00:33:11.000
Is kind of the fundraising and resource building capacity that we need to have to to sustain the work, and in the labor in support of the farmers, because right now the farmers are doing all the work which is not to be undermined in any way but how can we provide support and make
00:33:11.000 --> 00:33:15.000
Sure, that they're able to thrive and be successful in what they're wanting to do.
00:33:15.000 --> 00:33:16.000
And you know the impact that we have in the broader community.
00:33:16.000 --> 00:33:21.000
So those are the some of the things I'm trying to figure out.
00:33:21.000 --> 00:33:24.000
But here we are!
00:33:24.000 --> 00:33:33.000
Thank you for sharing your story, Ryan, and I know we're happy to have you in Phoenix, and I'm sure there's plenty of people.
00:33:33.000 --> 00:33:42.000
Anna asks the question. Positions that you Ryan?
00:33:42.000 --> 00:33:48.000
And so on. Hold our big positions, and how does it become available?
00:33:48.000 --> 00:34:00.000
So this could be a tricky us, and to answer, but please feel free to unmute and share what you're calling area
00:34:00.000 --> 00:34:02.000
Yeah, so you could have a little bit on my end.
00:34:02.000 --> 00:34:13.000
But seeing the the quote in the chat, the question, yes, I mean there's a variety of entities who are involved with spaces.
00:34:13.000 --> 00:34:23.000
My position is paid through funding through the Sprouts foundation.
00:34:23.000 --> 00:34:29.000
And so we have a multi-year grant that supports that, and bringing me on board.
00:34:29.000 --> 00:34:47.000
So one was in the land manager position that became unfunded as the nonprofit world goes, and so right now we're trying to rehire for that as a crucial position related to what spaces does and is now tied in with as a staff for the desert
00:34:47.000 --> 00:35:06.000
Pontanical Garden there's a number of nonprofits who do their own fundraising and pay for their staff that are coordinating different positions, and then the farmers are more like individual business owners, and so we're not necessarily paying them rather than purchasing their
00:35:06.000 --> 00:35:16.000
Food, but they're, you know, either entirely reward, relying on their sales or produce as their livelihood are.
00:35:16.000 --> 00:35:20.000
There being supplemented from other jobs. And they're doing this part-time.
00:35:20.000 --> 00:35:23.000
And so there's a whole kind of a mix of that.
00:35:23.000 --> 00:35:36.000
But the the kind of structure is meant to be that the staff are supporting the farmers and developing a business as their livelihood, or what they're seeking to do.
00:35:36.000 --> 00:35:42.000
Not necessarily that the farmers themselves are staff members. If that answers the question, and so on.
00:35:42.000 --> 00:35:46.000
I don't know if you want to add anything
00:35:46.000 --> 00:35:58.000
Yeah, I mean, you covered most of it. I I do want to point out that for up until the last, maybe 2 years most of the work I did for spaces was on a volunteer level.
00:35:58.000 --> 00:36:06.000
I think have some like contracts that I would work with, like George Community Learning Center for a little bit, but for the most part I mean spaces.
00:36:06.000 --> 00:36:12.000
It was almost literal in the a literal sense, like a grassroots.
00:36:12.000 --> 00:36:14.000
Organization where there was there was no one. There's people who could do the work, but there was not. Really.
00:36:14.000 --> 00:36:23.000
We didn't have too many funding sources and any funding sources that we got went to infrastructure.
00:36:23.000 --> 00:36:31.000
Mostly when that's what most grants are for. Typically so, and then that.
00:36:31.000 --> 00:36:35.000
Then that's the story of of most organizations like this. Right?
00:36:35.000 --> 00:36:47.000
I mean I had. I had a full time job up until to 2,02122, or 2,020, I think while I was doing all my farming stuff.
00:36:47.000 --> 00:36:54.000
So I and that, and even when I was a farmer that was also like a part time business for me.
00:36:54.000 --> 00:36:56.000
But yeah, I mean, Ryan's absolutely right.
00:36:56.000 --> 00:36:59.000
There's there's there's a number of organizations.
00:36:59.000 --> 00:37:04.000
Not. That are not one of the 5 major partners of spaces?
00:37:04.000 --> 00:37:19.000
Who do fundraising, who do things like Csa programs that generate revenue so they can pay for basically staff, whether it be people who are just running their gardens, whether it be admin people things like that.
00:37:19.000 --> 00:37:20.000
But I hope to answer your question.
00:37:20.000 --> 00:37:24.000
I'm not sure you know how much folks are familiar with the nonprofit landscape, or, you know, operations that go into that.
00:37:24.000 --> 00:37:31.000
But as forming as a nonprofit. You know we're not to have the business of sales from the produce.
00:37:31.000 --> 00:37:51.000
Be what sustained staff. So you know, solely and large in part of having, you know, like a mission of trying to ensure that low income folks are able to also access the produc and and the land you know, like the our harvest, that someone was talking about of we're purchasing it
00:37:51.000 --> 00:38:00.000
At price, but so that it can also be a cost reduction to the community, or tying to a different program where there's no cost to the community.
00:38:00.000 --> 00:38:05.000
But the farmers are still getting paid for it, and you know that's a the tricky landscape of nonprofits.
00:38:05.000 --> 00:38:13.000
And, you know, going after different funding sources, typically from private foundations or sometimes public sources.
00:38:13.000 --> 00:38:19.000
That can be it most typically from like 5,000 to $50,000 for one year.
00:38:19.000 --> 00:38:30.000
And if you're lucky you can get a 6 figure over, you know, 2 to 3 years but we're talking about staff being paid equitably and and living wages and getting their benefits.
00:38:30.000 --> 00:38:45.000
You get the kind of piecemeal a number of different funds sources together, to be able to sustain those staff, and if the funding sources on an annual cycle, then every year you don't know if you're gonna be able to keep that staff unless you're able to continue to
00:38:45.000 --> 00:39:03.000
Raise those funds. Much is what I'm stepping into now, trying to figure that whole puzzle piece out, and how we can have sustainable funding sources to make sure that we can bring on staff and run programs that are supporting fair fair and living wages
00:39:03.000 --> 00:39:10.000
Thank you for that, both of you. How many people are currently on stuff? It's basically the opportunity
00:39:10.000 --> 00:39:32.000
That's a good question, since we kind of have this collaborative model that formed spaces their staff that are dedicated through different organizations that are in support of the work, I'm kind of assuming that I'm the only full time staff number. Of spaces.
00:39:32.000 --> 00:39:37.000
But I'm I'm actually employed by the Desert Botanical Garden, until we can form the nonprofit and get kind of stable to become our own entity.
00:39:37.000 --> 00:39:44.000
So as a standalone nonprofit, there's there's no staff but the desert potato.
00:39:44.000 --> 00:40:06.000
Cool garden helps support someone on staff also, or the position also a lead farmer that helps do the tractor work and coordinate kind of the the plot maintenance that needs to happen when we're turning it over the seasons are changing and and preparing the land we have
00:40:06.000 --> 00:40:25.000
a community gardener, coordinator from tiger mountain foundation that helps support and coordinate all of the community garden plots and preparing them and providing, you know, technical assistance and hands on support to the community members that are forming there and then we have a staff member from
00:40:25.000 --> 00:40:30.000
unlimited potential. Who's helping to support the farmers market that we're running?
00:40:30.000 --> 00:40:36.000
And there's a couple of other staff members that are supporting in different areas and common space maintenance.
00:40:36.000 --> 00:40:42.000
And what have you through the organizations? But you know we we probably need to get up to about 10 full time staff to be able to coordinate programs.
00:40:42.000 --> 00:40:49.000
And and you know the business development support the farmers, market trainings, and coordination of the activities that are happening on the land.
00:40:49.000 --> 00:40:55.000
But that's all. All tied to the the fundraising piece.
00:40:55.000 --> 00:41:01.000
I was talking to
00:41:01.000 --> 00:41:16.000
Awesome. Thank you for sharing those details. Something that I observed when I was walking spaces with you both is the diversity and people and ages and farming styles on the land until I'm curious.
00:41:16.000 --> 00:41:24.000
If you could speak to the international presence that you have there, and that are represented at spaces
00:41:24.000 --> 00:41:29.000
Yeah, that's the one you wanna speak to that
00:41:29.000 --> 00:41:40.000
Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, that's honestly one of the best parts about spaces is this, 1920 acre farm on the south side of Phoenix.
00:41:40.000 --> 00:41:45.000
That's kind of like the rows that came out of the concrete not really supposed to be there.
00:41:45.000 --> 00:41:53.000
But here we are, as far as like the different cultures and and nationalities and ethnicities in there.
00:41:53.000 --> 00:42:05.000
I can't. I can't speak for the community gardeners, because I don't have oversight over that, but I know on the incubator side, I believe so.
00:42:05.000 --> 00:42:21.000
We have about 15 different organizations who are actively incubator incubation, farming, I believe, from, I used to know this number out like by heart, from 6 or 8 different countries that are speaking.
00:42:21.000 --> 00:42:25.000
I think. 4 4 to 6 different languages, and obviously most people speak English.
00:42:25.000 --> 00:42:36.000
But some people only speak Spanish. Some people only speak French, so that's as when I was incubate, or when I was coordinating the incubator.
00:42:36.000 --> 00:42:51.000
That was kind of the tricky thing for me, since I don't, I don't speak great Spanish, and I definitely don't seek French was was moderating communication to make sure.
00:42:51.000 --> 00:43:03.000
Everyone had what they needed, as far as like resources, as far as just the basic needs of of scheduling something like water, or like produce pickup for our harvest.
00:43:03.000 --> 00:43:10.000
And so those those have been some of the some some of the speed bumps, but overall it's been really great.
00:43:10.000 --> 00:43:18.000
We a lot with the Irc? The was it International Rescue Center?
00:43:18.000 --> 00:43:28.000
And we get. We've had a lot of farmers coming from there who used to be farmers back in their home countries, and then kind of want to get back into it.
00:43:28.000 --> 00:43:30.000
And and but actually use that as a revenue source for their own homes and for their own lives.
00:43:30.000 --> 00:43:44.000
That's been really great. Ryan brought up our our lead farmer, who's saying Al hamka, who from Iraq is he?
00:43:44.000 --> 00:43:56.000
He actually brought Iraqi seed from his homeland, and and he's actually created his own like Cultivar of of cucumber that he's shared with the rest of the spaces.
00:43:56.000 --> 00:44:03.000
We've got people from Zoom different parts of Mexico.
00:44:03.000 --> 00:44:11.000
Zimbabwe. I'm sure there's more I mean my my family's from Vietnam, Cambodia.
00:44:11.000 --> 00:44:33.000
Oh, so we got people from all over the place. And it. It's a really unique place and and a super super diverse cast of folks which actually brings a lot of like cultural and like philosophical ideas to the table that I've definitely appreciated learning from all these years
00:44:33.000 --> 00:44:36.000
Yeah, very cool. Thank you for speaking to that. So on, Ryan.
00:44:36.000 --> 00:44:41.000
Is there anything that you wanted to add
00:44:41.000 --> 00:44:47.000
No, I think so. One has a lot more time with folks to kind of see the diversity.
00:44:47.000 --> 00:44:52.000
And you know, South Phoenix, the broader South Phoenix area is also, I.
00:44:52.000 --> 00:45:02.000
A diverse space as well. So I think you know, we're really reflective and and tied into a lot of the different pockets of a different community groups that are are reflected throughout Phoenix.
00:45:02.000 --> 00:45:03.000
But yeah, it's a great experience, especially coming from the Bay area.
00:45:03.000 --> 00:45:15.000
Or it is extremely diverse. To step into a more diverse space is, has been really comforting
00:45:15.000 --> 00:45:26.000
Sweet, so we could see it a little bit on the farm tour, like what surrounding spaces of opportunity farmland it looks like a lot of President residential area.
00:45:26.000 --> 00:45:32.000
So I wonder if you guys could speak to your relationship to the India community?
00:45:32.000 --> 00:45:43.000
And then the relationship that you have with, like the greater phoenix community as well
00:45:43.000 --> 00:45:52.000
Yeah, sure. So I like to say on the on the innovation curve, space is still on the like early adoption.
00:45:52.000 --> 00:45:59.000
Part. We've we've gone out, and we canvassed that neighborhood.
00:45:59.000 --> 00:46:05.000
Probably about at least half a dozen times like literally knocking on doors and talking to folks and the P.
00:46:05.000 --> 00:46:09.000
For the most part the people who want to be involved with spaces come through.
00:46:09.000 --> 00:46:21.000
It wasn't, especially in the beginning. There was a lot of hesitancy to to get involved, just because, like I said, there's not a project like this that really has ever existed out in cell.
00:46:21.000 --> 00:46:24.000
And then there's also like cultural barriers.
00:46:24.000 --> 00:46:27.000
There's language barriers. I think, that that make people hesitant to come and participate.
00:46:27.000 --> 00:46:42.000
But over the years, as we've done more farming and and done more produce, and actually got out more of our harvest through programs like our harvest and list.
00:46:42.000 --> 00:46:49.000
And fresh connection. We have seen an uptake, especially during during Covid.
00:46:49.000 --> 00:46:58.000
During Covid we had the most participation that we'd ever seen in in my entire time of being at spaces.
00:46:58.000 --> 00:47:06.000
Just because people were looking for things to do. It's essentially an open campus, so you can come onto the property at any time any time of the day, any day of the week.
00:47:06.000 --> 00:47:19.000
And there's usually some I'm I'm usually there like supposed to be there 5 days a week, but sometimes I'm there 7 times 7 days a week, but and there's always someone there who's gonna talk to you.
00:47:19.000 --> 00:47:25.000
And if you wanna talk them or you can just walk around and and you know, get a fresh orange.
00:47:25.000 --> 00:47:32.000
Get a get a delicious sweet peach. Just hang out and ask people questions to see what's going on with irrigation.
00:47:32.000 --> 00:47:43.000
So that that's been really encouraging. And then from time to time, we do get folks from from across the valley who come through, who are maybe just curious.
00:47:43.000 --> 00:47:56.000
I've had people bike from to the Tempe area, or like Central Phoenix, just to come to the market, especially because people are always trying to get that fresh local honey, and we got the hook up out there.
00:47:56.000 --> 00:48:03.000
But no, it's been cool and then we and then every second Saturday we do do Tiger mountain foundation.
00:48:03.000 --> 00:48:07.000
We do these things called Second Saturdays, which is like a community day.
00:48:07.000 --> 00:48:12.000
So like, folks from all over the valley come through, and they'll they'll volunteer their time and effort and and energy and stuff, and then they'll help out on the plot.
00:48:12.000 --> 00:48:22.000
They'll help out in the community garden. They'll do some cleanup, and then they get to, you know.
00:48:22.000 --> 00:48:25.000
Appreciate the space as well, so that's that's been really encouraging.
00:48:25.000 --> 00:48:32.000
Hi, we're always obviously working on more engagement, as much engagement as we can, especially because of our messages.
00:48:32.000 --> 00:48:42.000
And one of our missions is to really improve and and and combat the current food system.
00:48:42.000 --> 00:48:51.000
And especially considering, like the demographic around us, has, on average, more health issues.
00:48:51.000 --> 00:48:56.000
Then somewhere, you know, on on the east side of town, or maybe on like in North Vietnam.
00:48:56.000 --> 00:49:07.000
So that's something that we, we are definitely, always considering, always looking at and and also welcoming anyone who wants to participate and and who's who's an expert in that area.
00:49:07.000 --> 00:49:10.000
Because I I I can talk to you about biochemistry.
00:49:10.000 --> 00:49:22.000
I can talk to you about plant growing. I can talk to you about all sorts of sciences stuff, but I don't I can't say I'm I'm I'm adept in in that area, and and that's one of the reasons why we have ryan on board.
00:49:22.000 --> 00:49:27.000
I mean he's been super great with coming up with ideas, and I know he's working really hard behind the scene.
00:49:27.000 --> 00:49:32.000
To really make some best stuff happen, because we certainly
00:49:32.000 --> 00:49:34.000
00:49:34.000 --> 00:49:37.000
Yeah, thanks a lot. Yeah. And I think the it's a tricky part with how to sustain community engagement and outreach.
00:49:37.000 --> 00:49:50.000
And you know doing canvassing and door knocking is is probably the most effective way to reach people where they or they're at right or at their homes.
00:49:50.000 --> 00:50:00.000
But it's very labor intensive. And so you know that with Covid kind of stopping things and then changing the way people interact with space and then things opening back up.
00:50:00.000 --> 00:50:12.000
And you know, people kind of going back to different habits and things of that nature, you know, it's been hard to sustain the engagement piece, and so that's something that we're looking at right now.
00:50:12.000 --> 00:50:13.000
Also, on second Saturdays. We're doing our farmers market.
00:50:13.000 --> 00:50:23.000
It was weekly, but we're trying to build put more energy into outreach so that we can have a kind of a deeper community presence cause, and I don't know if everybody's in there the Phoenix area or not.
00:50:23.000 --> 00:50:27.000
But it's not very walkable whatsoever.
00:50:27.000 --> 00:50:46.000
And so, if you're not on Vineyard when you're in your driver route, if you could live, you know a couple of blocks away, and have no idea that this 19 Acre farm is, you know, this blocks away from you so trying to make sure that we can have that
00:50:46.000 --> 00:50:48.000
Sustained presence. We're pretty well known in the the food world within Phoenix and in the organizations and kind of efforts.
00:50:48.000 --> 00:50:54.000
Looking around. Urban food systems and community food spaces.
00:50:54.000 --> 00:51:03.000
But the average person is in necessarily, you know, plugged in, or aware of that at all.
00:51:03.000 --> 00:51:06.000
And that's really what the folks that we're trying to reach.
00:51:06.000 --> 00:51:10.000
So something, you know folks are interested in want to come, knock on some doors and help canvas with us.
00:51:10.000 --> 00:51:12.000
That could be an opportunity to get more plugged into the the community.
00:51:12.000 --> 00:51:18.000
And what we're doing there
00:51:18.000 --> 00:51:25.000
Yeah, thank you guys, and absolutely stay tuned for more operation between things in common and spaces of opportunity in the future.
00:51:25.000 --> 00:51:34.000
I wanted to ask you guys cool morning questions. First one is about your my harvest co-OP.
00:51:34.000 --> 00:51:40.000
So my harvest go up. This is produce from the incoming firms on site.
00:51:40.000 --> 00:51:44.000
Who are the purchasers of the produce from Irvis co-OP?
00:51:44.000 --> 00:51:53.000
Or is it restaurants? Is it family? Is
00:51:53.000 --> 00:51:59.000
Yeah, so our harvest
00:51:59.000 --> 00:52:03.000
It. It really depends it. It really depends on the time of year.
00:52:03.000 --> 00:52:10.000
Most of the time we have press connections, which is basically a community.
00:52:10.000 --> 00:52:14.000
Driven Csa, or rather it'll be a state sponsor, Csa.
00:52:14.000 --> 00:52:31.000
That provides that produce to to the community so they're buying produce again at market priced.
00:52:31.000 --> 00:52:32.000
00:52:32.000 --> 00:52:36.000
And then putting that into like, basically 10 to $50 coats and then handing them out, delivering them to to the folks who who want them and need them rest of the time.
00:52:36.000 --> 00:52:41.000
Where it's it's getting purchased at the market.
00:52:41.000 --> 00:52:51.000
We have experimented with some like restaurants and and and other businesses who are interested.
00:52:51.000 --> 00:52:55.000
That's typically not super popular. But it does happen.
00:52:55.000 --> 00:53:15.000
And then we also. So to other prot aggregators in Phoenix, like, for example, sun, produce, or green on purpose, is another one who who collect and then have their own markets as well but for the most part it's it's it's it's
00:53:15.000 --> 00:53:19.000
It's super dynamic with who the buyers are.
00:53:19.000 --> 00:53:24.000
As as someone who's like coordinated incubator farm program.
00:53:24.000 --> 00:53:37.000
I'm always of the advocate to try to get the farmers to establish their own relationships with different businesses, whether it's restaurants, whether it's like corner stores and stuff like that or grocery stores.
00:53:37.000 --> 00:53:42.000
Even, and I have facilitated some of those meetings.
00:53:42.000 --> 00:53:49.000
But it's at the end of the day, like as far as the incubation part of the incubator farm.
00:53:49.000 --> 00:53:55.000
We're really trying to get them started in thinking about this, not just as the farm, but as a business as well.
00:53:55.000 --> 00:54:08.000
So I really always have encouraged doing business that way. As
00:54:08.000 --> 00:54:09.000
00:54:09.000 --> 00:54:16.000
Cool. Thank you. So long. So we just have a couple more minutes left is left to comment and then talk she's wondering if there's any issues with capabilities.
00:54:16.000 --> 00:54:24.000
So how do you deal with it? She is confronted with him, she and her nonprofit, you know, gardening space.
00:54:24.000 --> 00:54:30.000
With that some. So you guys can speak to that
00:54:30.000 --> 00:54:51.000
Yeah. It's a a tricky hot topic issue. I think it's best to you for our model, where we have a split between trying to support farming businesses to be set up, and that are growing, you know, for economic revenue and a community garden space that's really intended to build
00:54:51.000 --> 00:54:56.000
community and welcome in people we don't have any fences.
00:54:56.000 --> 00:55:13.000
There's kind of attention right now, for should we build a fence around it so that we can have more security, are not, you know, or do we accept kind of losses as they happen with so many people working on the land you know, we have over 100 people easily, working in the land?
00:55:13.000 --> 00:55:19.000
Regularly shared storage and tools and stuff like that can be misplaced.
00:55:19.000 --> 00:55:25.000
For how, however that might be taken, or the intention, you know, are not behind it.
00:55:25.000 --> 00:55:36.000
Or some, you know, someone might come in and pick pick a couple of crops, or we actually just had someone come up 2 of our fruit trees that were in their infancy.
00:55:36.000 --> 00:55:53.000
And so I think you know that that's part of trying to build relationships on the community level and and kind of have more of a presence, so that people are aware of what the space is and and that it is a community gathered point and and are there for the community.
00:55:53.000 --> 00:55:57.000
And you know there are some things that are gonna gonna happen.
00:55:57.000 --> 00:56:00.000
And that's, I think, kind of the nature of of working in.
00:56:00.000 --> 00:56:11.000
You know communities where there are some, some more challenges or barriers, and and people looking to kind of figure out ways to address those gaps.
00:56:11.000 --> 00:56:19.000
But you know I I'm really trying to to make it to continue to be an open, welcoming community space.
00:56:19.000 --> 00:56:38.000
And and what are some more innovative ways, we might be able to deter some of those challenges like lighting and and things of those nature that aren't as authoritative or exclusive as putting up, you know, like a barbara fence for example, but yeah, it's
00:56:38.000 --> 00:56:45.000
It's a challenge, especially with 19 acres. Half of it is fenced by the bordering neighborhood.
00:56:45.000 --> 00:56:58.000
And so the walls that are are linking to people's backyards, and the other half is opened up to the street, or a utility service road for the canal system.
00:56:58.000 --> 00:57:03.000
So it's it's wide open space
00:57:03.000 --> 00:57:06.000
Thank you for that insight so we're right at the top of the hour.
00:57:06.000 --> 00:57:21.000
So I want to get both someone and Ryan an opportunity to share how people can connect and support spaces of opportunity, and also offer some details about your fun with the farm. That happening and right
00:57:21.000 --> 00:57:22.000
Yeah, so you know, Sewan's our our volunteer person.
00:57:22.000 --> 00:57:29.000
So I'll give you our some space to talk about that with.
00:57:29.000 --> 00:57:33.000
You know my role in what I've talked to.
00:57:33.000 --> 00:57:42.000
There's a a pretty big resource deficit to try to bring the organization into the the strength and longevity that is needed to really thrive for the long term with with managing such a large space.
00:57:42.000 --> 00:57:54.000
And so definitely appreciate and welcome anyone who'd want to contribute financially to the work that we're doing.
00:57:54.000 --> 00:57:59.000
There's a donate direct page on our website that was shared in the link.
00:57:59.000 --> 00:58:03.000
And then on March 20 fourth, we are along with our partnership with the Desert Botanical Gardens, who is one of our our board members hosting the fun.
00:58:03.000 --> 00:58:17.000
The farm event, and that's gonna be at the desert. Botanical Gardens will have a daytime event that's happening there with some tabling.
00:58:17.000 --> 00:58:24.000
And the actual fundraiser itself will be in the evening at the desert potential gardens, and they'll be farm.
00:58:24.000 --> 00:58:25.000
The table meals and beverages, and there also be some live music by a local band.
00:58:25.000 --> 00:58:47.000
Los Angeles. And so anyone that is interested in that we definitely encourage you to support us in that way and come out and have a good time and and meet some of us in person as well, and thank you, Renee, for for resharing those links and also put a Pdf of the flyer in
00:58:47.000 --> 00:58:54.000
In the chat as well, and so on. If you want to talk to volunteer opportunities
00:58:54.000 --> 00:58:59.000
Oh, yeah, yeah. So we're gonna share, probably mine.
00:58:59.000 --> 00:59:10.000
And Ryan's contact information. If you're looking to, you know, get your hands dirty, learn a little bit about cultivation, or maybe share your knowledge and talk to some cool people.
00:59:10.000 --> 00:59:16.000
I'll let you, boy. I'm the I'm the the hands on horticulture dude.
00:59:16.000 --> 00:59:17.000
So we got a lot. It really depends on on what you want to do.
00:59:17.000 --> 00:59:25.000
I always kind of leave it up to to the folks themselves to like.
00:59:25.000 --> 00:59:31.000
Decide what they're interested in, whether it be like actually getting into the garden, whether it be building, raise beds we always need, we?
00:59:31.000 --> 00:59:41.000
Eding. We always need mulching. If you wanna learn about tree pruning and tree care as well we could hook you up there.
00:59:41.000 --> 00:59:50.000
If you want to get involved with the market, that's always a fun thing to kind of be around and and help plan, especially when we got a mets coming on.
00:59:50.000 --> 01:00:01.000
We also have a one acre food for us that is, on the property as well, and they can teach a whole wealth of things that are up above my pay grade.
01:00:01.000 --> 01:00:15.000
And then, or if you're if you're interested in volunteering with any of the other organizations within spaces, there's a there's a good handful of different organizations from project roots from desert tentacle garden unlimited unlimited
01:00:15.000 --> 01:00:22.000
Potential Chispa. So there's a whole bunch of great opportunities to get to know the community.
01:00:22.000 --> 01:00:30.000
We definitely are very welcoming there. There's no expectations when you come out there working at your own pace.
01:00:30.000 --> 01:00:37.000
What you're comfortable with, and most time we it. We're just having, like really good conversations.
01:00:37.000 --> 01:00:43.000
While getting some really cool stuff done at the farm. So I appreciate you all
01:00:43.000 --> 01:00:48.000
Thank you, appreciate you both so definitely. Stay tuned for a follow up email.
01:00:48.000 --> 01:01:01.000
I will include, so that everybody that's following knows how to keep in touch with, and just consider making a difference.
01:01:01.000 --> 01:01:07.000
Thank you so much. Thank you, Ryan, today, and thank you.
01:01:07.000 --> 01:01:12.000
We'll see you next month. Proceed. Story. Yes.
01:01:12.000 --> 01:01:13.000
And thank you all
01:01:13.000 --> 01:01:14.000
Cool. Thanks, everybody.
01:01:14.000 --> 01:01:37.000
Thank you. Good night.