A Terra Cultura Midyear Review
Written by Rachel Wohlander
July 11, 2019

Hello friends. It’s been a minute since you’ve heard from us. So we figured it was time for a midyear update.

Where we are now.

It’s an exciting time here, as we gear up for a new phase of expanded programming. You may notice updates to our programs page, including your chance to register for an upcoming workshop on August 3. The topic is Climate-Smart Farming And Gardening, and it’s sure to be hands-on, informative, and fun. There are student and senior discounts available, and a chance to “pay it forward” to donate a scholarship. Space is limited, so register early! There are also opportunities for educational field trips and hands-on group activities for all ages. So get in touch if you know an interested school, camp, or community group.

Volunteers plant companion plant clusters into the cover crop.

As for other projects on the farm, our no-till vegetable row crops are growing tall and green. We’re exploring plant partnerships, incorporating new and old methods, from the indigenous three sisters garden to experiments with native “weeds” as companion plants. We continue to expand our fledgling food forest, and have planted over 50 species of food-bearing trees and shrubs over the past year to establish the first layers of our food forest. Our pollinator garden is in full bloom. And thanks to a donation from the Xerces Society, we’ll soon be planting 1600 more pollinator-attracting, drought tolerant, native plants. Also, thanks to funding from the Lush Charitable Giving Program, we’re constructing an all-access raised garden bed and related infrastructure, allowing us to welcome more diverse participants to our education programs. 

Out in the community, the eco-arts public art project we co-facilitated is nearing completion, thanks to the many volunteers who prepped and painted. The Register-Pajaronian did a nice write up on the highly collaborative mural project. 

Volunteers paint colorful fish on the bridge into Aromas.

Where we are going.

Moving forward, we have plans for enhanced efficiency for the farm’s power and water needs, working towards being a demonstration site for resource conservation. Our curriculum will incorporate solar power, rainwater catchment, greywater systems, moisture monitors, drip irrigation, and water table restoration. An outdoor classroom and kitchen is also in the works, allowing students hands-on participation in every stage of their food system, including planting, tending, harvesting, cooking, healthy eating, and composting. And we’re continuing to expand our educational programs for students from underserved communities, bringing in expert educators and building our scholarship fund.

But we can’t do it without your help. The best way to support us right now is through sustained monthly giving. We’re so grateful to our supporters who donate what they can each month, be it $5, $50, $100, or more. We have so many plans for programs that serve the community. And the best way for us to move forward is through sustained, reliable support. We would be so grateful if you would check the “make it monthly” box after you hit the donate button.

We’ve come so far in a year and half. With your help we’ve stewarded an eroded, over-grazed, and neglected piece of land towards a thriving and abundant ecosystem that nourishes local plants, animals, and humans while conserving resources and restoring habitats. We’ve established the infrastructure to support a small-scale eco-arts farm, implemented innovative educational programming around it, and become deeply involved and invested in our local community and Grange. We want to thank all of you who believe in this project enough to help make it possible. There is so much more to do. We’re excited to keep working with you to cultivate a more happy, healthy, and resilient future. Thank you, always, for your friendship and support.

Written by Rachel Wohlander

Rachel Wohlander is a co-founder, and the executive director of culture and education at Terra Cultura. She is an interdisciplinary artist and educator with a background in performing arts and creative writing.