Fairview Gardens, the 12-acre nonprofit educational farm in Goleta, is reveling in the last days of summer with a Community Celebration on August 17. The event is open to all Santa Barbarans looking to reconnect with nature, get involved in future garden programs, or just enjoy the live music, cooking demos, and crafts on a summer night. The Independent caught up with Fairview Gardens’s Director of Education Marla Greer to get the scoop on the event and future opportunities to delve more deeply into the local land.
What types of experiences and events does Fairview Gardens offer the Santa Barbara community? Fairview Gardens has something to offer for everyone! Our children’s programs provide participants with age-appropriate, vibrant, enriching, experiential learning opportunities through the seasons. Volunteers are able to dig into hands-on farming projects to earn community service hours. You can find our organic, no-spray produce at the on-site farm stand open every day and now at the Friday Montecito Farmers Market.
What do you have planned for the Community Celebration? So many fun, delicious, things. There will be music, we’ve got activities for children, farm tours, and an awesome raffle. But what I’m most excited for is the “Taste the Rainbow” tostada making station. This is an opportunity for attendees to build their perfect plate using tons of nutritious and colorful food from the farm.
How can people get involved in volunteering at Fairview Gardens, and what types of activities can they help with? Fairview Gardens loves and appreciates all volunteers! Folks interested in helping the farm production team are welcome to join weekdays. Through the summer, teens meet to work on farm stewardship projects. There are even opportunities to volunteer at the farm stand. Our education team is also looking for volunteers/interns to assist in full seasons of children’s programs. Additionally, if you have a special skill that may be useful (orchard care, native plants, carpentry, etc.) we would love to have you. Reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why do you believe it is important to implement programs for children at the garden? The garden is one of the greatest teachers, and it is our calling to provide children access to a vivacious outdoor space where they are empowered to develop a deep connection with the natural world around them. We allow youth a time to disconnect from screens, be in their bodies, embrace their budding curiosities, and learn through experiences.
What do you hope that visitors take away from the Open House? It is our intention to celebrate all staff, families, volunteers, community partners, farmers, and all whose hard work has allowed for a supremely successful summer season. We hope that attendees leave feeling connected to our mission, our land, and our team. Also, hoping folks gain a greater awareness as to the many programs we offer and feel inspired to get involved.
How can being involved in local farms benefit Santa Barbara? Supporting our local food system, especially small farmers, ensures the best land stewardship practices are observed through the cultivation of our food. Organic certification actually requires that farmers document the environmentally responsible aspects of their farms. For example, we plant hedgerows to reduce wind erosion of topsoil, leave fields undisturbed to create wildlife habitat, plant trees to shelter birds, and use non-chemical methods of weed control. Local farms mean that our neighbors have local jobs and that we have fresh, ready to eat fruits and vegetables year-round. The next exciting frontier we will see with local farms is the treatment of chronic diseases with fresh, local, organic vegetables. Just check out our Farming for Life partnership with Sansum Diabetes Research Center.