It costs $1 a day to feed a child a salad and 35 cents to feed a child pizza.
The CoCo San Sustainable Farm which is a collaboration between Central Contra Costa Sanitary District in Martinez, CA and AgLantis TM, a 501c-3 non-profit.
PROBLEM & PROPOSED SOLUTION
It costs $1 a day to feed a child a salad. Most schools can not afford that. The Contra Costa Food Bank can not get salad vegetables because they are highly perishable and unavailable locally. We will be providing low cost sustainably grown produce to schools, the food bank, and the community.
We will grow produce on 14.8 acres of public buffer land and in a high-tech Agra Tech solar light greenhouse (144' X 42'), using recycled, agricultural-grade water, which is otherwise discharged into the Bay. This recycled water is high in nitrogen, providing free fertilizer.
Nearly 1 trillion gallons of reclaimed water are discharged into the greater San Francisco Bay waterways each year. UC Davis estimated the water shortfall in the CA Central Valley to have been 2.1 trillion gallons this past year. We threw about half that much water away in the Bay Area alone. This water is high in nitrogen which is bad for the Bay, but great for agriculture, providing free fertilizer. With one more treatment is it perfect for agriculture and certified by the State of CA for Ag.
The Contra Costa Food Bank is a mile from our farm and will pick up the produce and use existing systems to distribute it to schools and clients, providing transportation. CSAs on the farm will provide low cost produce to the community.
Hence, we are deploying under-utilized resources to nearly eliminate 4 of the major costs of food production: LAND, WATER, FERTILIZER, and TRANSPORTATION.
We have dramatically reduced the carbon footprint of this food by growing and delivering locally with natural fertilizer and other sustainable methods.
One of the goals of the farm is to educate. Every aspect of science touches a farm such as physics, soil science, hydrology, meteorology, and nutrition. We are working with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Teacher of the Year, the Community College Board, Diablo Valley and Los Medano Community Colleges, JFKU and an expert who created internships for NASA to integrate the farm into school curricula.
The farm will be an incubator for green jobs. We will partner with other local businesses to showcase their products and teach aspects of jobs related to these industries.
The environment will also benefit because we will be rebuilding barren soil, plant crops that sequester carbon and clean the air and increase ground water. We also reduce the major types of carbon pollution associated with food production: FOSSIL FUEL- BASED FERTILIZER and TRANSPORT.
Sanitary districts in San Francisco Bay Area discharge as much as a trillion gallons of water in a year into the Bay waterways. They also have thousands of acres of buffer land. Our business model is scalable and once proven, can be replicated with other sanitary districts to utilize these precious resources and greatly reduce nutritional poverty.
TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE
AgLantis is a California non-profit, public benefit corporation and 501c-3. The work we are doing on the CoCo San Sustainable Farm now has a triple bottom line – social, economic and environmental. This farm is a model for healthy, fresh, sustainably produced, local produce and education for the community.
An apple a day will not keep the doctor away.But a salad a day might!