Noyo Food Forest
300 Dana St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Noyo Food Forest was started in 2006 with the mission to create food gardens around the Fort Bragg and Mendocino Coast, teaching youth about where their food comes from, and creating sustainable, local food independence through community gardens as safe spaces where the co-mingling of diverse people on common ground may have access to local food production. Since then NFF has either created or aided in the building of over 10 community and educational gardens throughout the greater Fort Bragg area. The Learning Garden is currently NFF’s main educational production garden that is open to the public where all are welcome. It is a half acre garden where we grow fresh produce for the fort Bragg Unified School District cafeterias in a Farm-to-School program and local produce for the greater community at our weekly Farmers Market, sell to local restaurants, and donate weekly to the Fort Bragg Food Bank and Senior Center. Noyo Food Forest (NFF) also offers paid internships where local youth gain education and experience in sustainable, organic-standards based ( NFF is not certified organic but we practice and teach organic standards to the best of our capacity) small scale farming. Interns engage in the full cycle of food cultivation, from composting and building healthy soil, to seeding starts into plastic-less soil blocks and direct sowing, learn about watering and water saving techniques, harvesting, selling and eating what they’ve grown. Interns develop skills in community engagement and sales of the produce at the weekly Farmers Market, and always take fresh produce home to their families. Through these internships NFF is growing future farmers and life time gardeners for our local food system. NFF also collaborates with the school district’s Workability program where special needs students have access to the safe space and direct learning environment of the Learning Garden. These students develop important job skills in food production. The garden offers them the opportunity to directly experience and ‘taste’ the results of their labors while gaining an education about where their food comes from. Funding for Workability students’ pay is provided through the Workability program while their collaboration with NFF benefits the Learning Garden and the community having more people engaged in the garden. NFF provides a venue where community can meet, garden, volunteer and have a hand in the local food sovereignty. Part of NFF’s mission is to offer free ongoing workshops to educate about organic gardening techniques and engage the community in building our local food system. Noyo Food Forest also organizes several community events including a fund raiser for our pollinator educational partner, BeeBold. The event raises awareness about bee population decline and offers education on bee friendly gardening. Our most notable event is the annual Earth Day Festival where local garden wisdom is shared by local non-profits and other educational organizaions. Children’s activities and workshops are offered in areas ranging from verma-composting – reduce waste and build great soil, bio-dynamic systems of growing, basic organic gardening, irrigation strategies for water scarcity, plant sale, and much more. This free event further stimulates a healthy local economy engaging families with an average of over 2000 attendees annually. These positive impacts are a result of Noyo Food Forest’s efforts in building and cultivating relationships with the greater community over the passed 10 years in collaboration for social well-being, an understanding of where our food comes from, and an enhanced local economy all by way of fresh and local food education and independence. We are currently coming to the end of a big USDA grant that prohibits us from growing any grains or corn, therefore we must depend upon external sources for any of our carbon crops; for use in regenerative crop rotations, mulching, soil building and compost, including but not limited to: corn, all cereal grains, quinoa, and amaranth. The only local rice straw we can find for these purposes is not organic and we would like to move away from this. Therefore we do not expect to renew the USDA grant and are hoping to sustain ourselves the way we have for over 10 years through our amazing community of supporters, annual fund raising events, and smaller grant opportunities exactly like this one. Thanks so much for this opportunity! Please see our Web site at www.noyofoodforest.org
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