FROM THE RANCH | Urban Agriculture

Posted on November 5, 2010 by Scott Kleinrock | Comments (5)

Welcome to the Huntington Ranch Blog, the online home of The Huntington's new urban agriculture project. In the first decades of the 20th century, Henry Huntington's San Marino property was a working ranch, pushing agricultural boundaries with the first commercial avocado grove in California as well as the largest planting of pineapple guavas in the region. The ranch supported itself with acres of orange groves and grapes and also included extensive kitchen gardens.

Drawing on this agricultural history, The Huntington looks to the future with its newest project, the Huntington Ranch, which is part agricultural preservation project and part experimental urban agriculture station. Through the Ranch, the institution aims to become a leader in ecological urban agriculture education and research in the Los Angeles area. Visitors will be exposed to myriad systems, techniques, and plant varieties adapted to the conditions of Southern California. This takes form as a half-acre programmatic demonstration garden, reclaimed from a site that was a gravel parking lot.

Growing approaches include designed edible landscapes, small-scale backyard orchards, intensive vegetable gardens, container gardens, and a semi-wild food forest. In the coming months, blog posts will cover the step-by-step transformation and construction of the space, providing the details needed to re-create and maintain any of these approaches at home. Information regarding harvests, crop evaluations, and more will be posted as programs are generated.

The Huntington Ranch will feature workshops, tours, and events that open the site up to the public, teach varying approaches to growing food at home, and allow participants to get their hands dirty while gaining the experience and confidence to try it at home.

To celebrate and introduce the Ranch, two days of events will bring together leading thinkers and practitioners from a variety of fields:

Friday, November 12, 8:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m.

Combining talks presenting a range of perspectives with a student poster session and Ranch tour, this one-day symposium brings together academics and professionals interested in the future of urban agriculture. Gary Nabhan, world-renowned ethnobotanist, ecologist, writer, and grower of heritage food crops, will be the keynote speaker.

Saturday, November 13, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Sold Out

This day of talks, tours, and demonstrations by local experts will cover topics from nurturing soil to keeping chickens to growing organic flowers and produce. Rosalind Creasy, edible landscaping pioneer, is the keynote speaker. Other presenters include: Silverlake Farms, Homegrown Evolution, Food not Lawns, Darren Butler, Full Circle Gardens, The Metabolic Studio, Backwards Beekeepers, Fallen Fruit, Sustainable Habitats, Master Gardeners, and Little Flower Candy Company.

Tickets and details available through Brown Paper Tickets.

Scott Kleinrock is the Ranch project coordinator at The Huntington.

Comments

we are a long way from kansas

Andrea,

Thanks for the great suggestion! See the following post for a list of symposium presenters and links to their websites.

Lisa Blackburn / staff

Hi Brad,

We'll definitely be needing volunteers! In the coming weeks we'll be looking at what the greatest needs are on the site and then we'll put together a volunteer program and start recruiting some "Ranch hands." We hope you'll be among them! Watch the blog for details.

Lisa Blackburn / staff

Will volunteers be needed to to assist at the ranch? If so how can we participate?

The Growing Home Saturday event had a wide variety of topics, and I felt fortunate to attend. Thanks to the Annenberg Foundation for the sponsorship, using Home Girl Bakery for a delicious lunch, & Little Flower breakfast treats were also wonderful. Please put the speaker's web site information on this blog as a resource. Thanks!

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