Tucson Village Farm is a working urban farm designed to provide youth with an understanding of sustainable food systems.
The farm is operational year round and during the summer kids have an opportunity to participate in week-long camps designed to teach healthy food choices.
Leza Carter, program coordinator and founder of Tucson Village Farm, says TVF is an environment designed to reconnect young people to a healthy food system, teach them how to grow and prepare fresh food, and empower them to make healthy life choices.
“We consider ourselves a ‘seed-to-table’ program,” says Carter. “We show (kids) what’s growing in the field and, ideally, they have a chance to harvest it and cook it.”
Carter says farm camp participants experience 35 hours of farm immersion, learning the ins and outs of farm life through daily farm chores, live animal demonstrations, presenters, and daily food preparation.
“The goal is really exposure-–we just want to expose these kids to as many tastes and healthy foods as we can,” says Carter.
Nine-year-old Miles Lyons has attended the TVF camp for three years and he’s enthusiastic about many of the daily activities.
"It’s very awesome… I’ve learned how to harvest potatoes, tomatoes, and all that great stuff,” says Lyons. “Cooking: I’ve been learning how to make omelets… it’s been awesome.”
On the day we visited the farm, Lyons and the other students were busy harvesting crops and learning about goats. The menu included goat cheese that was made from the milk that was collected that same day.
Carter says activities on the farm are designed to connect young people with the food they choose to consume, and to give them an understanding of what makes up a healthy diet.
“People in general have no idea where their food comes from past aisle six at Safeway,” laments Carter. “'My kid will not eat anything green, my kid will not eat vegetables’-- we hear this all the time. And what I’ve learned through the school garden, and what we see here is that if a child has a hand in cultivating, growing, picking, seeing the whole vegetable on the vine, they will eat it.”
The summer harvest is almost over but Carter says Tucson Village Farm has events planned throughout the year.
AZPM first visited Tucson Village Farm in its first year. Read the web feature here.