This is MESA's first year working with Riverdance Farms, located on 72-acres near the Merced River in the Central Valley, CA. The farm has 10-acres of orchard production with cherries, blueberries, and walnuts. It's surrounding areas are tended by host farmer Cindy Lashbrook, who works in natural resource conservation and education. This past February, MESA Steward Xochitl Juárez from Oaxaca, Mexico began her project-oriented training with Cindy to help the farm prepare for their annual "Pick and Gather" festival in June. This event features "u-pick" organic fruit, a local crafts market, live music, camping, workshops to train farmers, and fun educational activities for children.
Xochitl has worked on two previous MESA host farms and is now focusing on her final training stage on a SPRIG project with Riverdance Farms. She and Cindy developed the farm's first demonstration vegetable garden to show the community new ways to produce their own food. The garden is made of 17 beds constructed in different ways, including double-digging, compost layering and modified haystacks, all spiraling out to an 80 foot diameter!
Read more (in both English and Español) about Xochitl's experience with the MESA program and her plans for continuing work in Oaxaca.