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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Heal Zone - AL Centro Mini Market Produce Stand

The Riverside Food Cooperative was awarded a contract with the City of Riverside implement to Eastside Heal Zone projects.   The first project is a mini-produce stand at the Bobby Bonds Park and Sports Center on University Ave.

The East Side Heal Zone is a 3 year project to improve the health, and eating habits of Eastside residents.   The Heal Zone project is funded by Kaiser Permanente.   Heal is an acronym for Healthy Eating -Active Living.    The program is managed by Community Partners, The County of Riverside and The City of Riverside.   The Eastside HEAL Zone Initiative is a place-based intervention that targets both places and people utilizing environmental strategies supported by policy and reinforced by aligned/coordinated education and promotion. At the end of this initiative, changes are expected to occur in the following areas: environments, policies, and community resident awareness, knowledge, skills, motivation, and utilization. Over time, the cumulative result of these efforts will be population-level behavioral changes around nutrition and physical activity in the community of Eastside. The Eastside HEAL Zone Initiative aims to help residents:

  • Decrease calorie consumption
  • Increase consumption of healthy food and beverages such as fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking water
  • Increase physical activity

  • We opened the Mini Produce stand this weekend.   We are required to stock at least 150 pounds of vegetables and at least 7 varieties every week.
    Here are the flyers for the Al Centro Market in English and Spanish.

    We set up the stand Saturday morning and had a nice crowd.   The prices are basically cost as the grant is subsidizing the purchase to we can offer them at a great price.
    We had cilantro, cucumbers, green onions, zucchini, tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, and finally - some jalapenos, green bell peppers, and eggplant from Fox farm.
    We were sold out by 12:30pm.   We will be at Bobby Bonds every Saturday from 9:30am to 12:30pm for the next 12 weeks.  Although the market location was picked to served Eastside residents, the market is open to the public.

    Here are images of the market - with all the vegetables on display before we opened.

    Thursday, August 20, 2015

    Flood Irrigation - Orange Groves

    I was approached by a orange grove owner with 10 acres of orange groves to possibly grow vegetables in between the trees.    I don't have experience with oranges and was aware that they are watered from the Gage Canal.   The Gage canal was built between 1885 and 1889 to supply water to the newly planted Orange Grove in Riverside CA.   This provided a steady source of water and allowed the citrus industry to flourish.   The Gage canal is still in use today providing water for over a 1000 acres of orange groves in Riverside.  

    Here are some images of the canal as it looks today

    The landowners retain their water rights and  can purchase the water for their groves at a lower price than city water.  

    This orchard utilizes Gage canal water and get its water about  2 times a month.  The water turns on and runs for 48 hours.  This allows the trees to get a deep watering which is what citrus trees need to thrive.    
    Here's a picture of the water running along furrows along the tree's drip line.

    The downfall of flood irrigation is that there tends to be a lot of runoff.    This is where I am working to retain as much water in the orchard as possible and reduce runoff.

    Here are some pictures of the runoff, and finally the end of the road for all the run off.  A city storm drain so the water ends up wasted and becomes what is called urban drool.  

    Part of the solution.   I have been digging retention basins between the trees to keep as much water in the orchard as possible.   We plan on planting vegetables in the basins to take advantage of water that would otherwise go to waste.  The wire around the basins is to keep the rabbits out when we plant vegetables.   Here are some pictures of the basins.  Some haven't filled up yet, some are partially filled and some are flooded.   Keeping more water in the orchard is also better for the trees.   This isn't a commentary on whether flood irrigation is good or bad, just my thoughts on reducing runoff.

    Friday, August 7, 2015

    Squash Abundance - The Great Giveaway

    I had an abundance of zucchini squash that grew too big for the restaurants that buy my produce.  I needed to pick it so the plants will keep producing so I decided to post a squash give away note on the local neighborhood forum on   I also posted some information about the Riverside Food Coop and membership information.  

    Here are pictures of the squash in my truck and on my porch.

    There are green zucchini,  yellow sunbeam zucchini, and yellow 8-ball zucchini.

    Here is whats left at 8pm that night.  I am happy it all went to good homes and we also gained member for the Riverside Food Cooperative.