The Giving Farm at Westminster High School
The Giving Farm at Westminster High School is looking for one-time and regular/ongoing volunteers to help with regular maintenance of the farm and to help with volunteer groups. I will expand more about the program below and types of activites one can expect to help with:
What is the purpose of the farm?
The Giving Farm is a farm-to-food bank program that works to promote student and community engagement in the California agricultural industry. The program expects to deliver over 200,000 pounds of produce annually for consumption by low-income communities. This enhances opportunities for students and volunteers to learn about urban agriculture and the connection to local food networks and also provides nutrition education about the importance of healthy eating and active lifestyles for at-risk youth.
The Farm sits on 8 acres of land and is complete with fields of crops, livestock, aquaponics/hydroponics systems, greenhouse, shade house, orchard, vertical tower irrigation system, and nature center. It is the largest remaining public school farm in Orange County.
The Farm is a collaboration between the Orange County Food Bank, the Agriculture Sciences Program at Westminster High School including FFA (Future Farmers of America) students, Solutions for Urban Agriculture, and the Orange County Farm Bureau.
This is a link to OneOC's 2018 Combined Corporate Volunteer Project Impact Report for a large project that was held on the farm back in May 2018 to give you a sense of what the farm looks like and some projects we have worked on.
Here is a list of all media created for the farm.
Where is the Farm located?
The 8-acre farm is located on the Westminster High School campus between Boswell Field, Buckingham Park, and the 405 freeway at 14325 Goldenwest St, Westminster, CA 92683.
How can I help?
Volunteers are needed to help run the day-to-day operations at the farm as they make up the bulk of the labor along with the students in the agriculture classes. Continual maintenance of the fields, equipment, buildings, and systems are important to ensuring the sustainability of the farm and success of the program. Tasks and activities will vary depending on the skills, abilities, and knowledge of the volunteers and also seasonal changes. However, the 3 main tasks that volunteers help with include unwanted plant removal, planting, and harvesting. Weed removal is required year-round but especially during the rainy season (Dec – Mar).
Planting: Nov – Feb | May - Aug
Harvesting: Feb – June | Sept – Nov
Overlapping months will be a combination of planting/transplanting, harvesting/gleaning, and prepping the fields for the next round of crops.
Possible tasks include:
Planting, harvesting, gleaning
Pruning, trimming, transplanting
Weed removal, clearing debris, picking up trash
Inventory management/tool repair
Systems management e.g. irrigation, hydroponics/aquaponics, etc.
Maintaining/repairing electrical components (HVAC)
Construction of trellises, livestock housing, solar panel housing, equipment storage, etc.
Assist leading volunteer projects/farm events
Assist with various seasonal projects
Provide input/advice on improvements to the farm and its infrastructure
The farm is experiencing a large influx of weed growth due to the recent rains and we need help removing them. Weeds take away nutrients from the crops and attract pests; it is important to remove them before they mature and spread their seeds. Weeding is the #1 activity that we need the most assistance with. This is how your group can make the most impact on the farm. We try to do a combination of harvesting/weeding or planting/weeding with every group to provide a stimulating experience but if your group would be willing to weed for the entire length of the event, please let me know.
What are the qualifications?
People of all ages and capabilities are welcome to volunteer. We can match tasks with your personal abilities. However, the majority of work will involve some kind of physical labor such as kneeling down to plant plugs in the fields, bending over to cut crops for the harvest, or using tools such as garden hoes to remove unwanted weeds. The ability to follow close directions from farm staff is also required. We simply ask that volunteers are capable of doing the activity that is assigned. If the task is harvesting, knives will be used; therefore, we ask that volunteers are old/mature enough to properly utilize such tools. We also ask that volunteers take their tasks seriously as the food grown on the farm is helping to feed vulnerable families and individuals.
What are the benefits?
This volunteer opportunity has no pay. Volunteers can expect free entrance to farm events, ability to engage community/political/corporate leaders, the opportunity to learn about the urban agriculture industry, interact with farm animals, and may periodically take home fresh produce grown on the farm!
Volunteers aged 55+ can also enter into the OneOC's Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) which provides additional benefits such as medical insurance while volunteering and more.