Another Full Circle Farm in the Heart of the Silicon Valley
This post written by guest blogger Wolfram Alderson – Executive Director of Full Circle Farm Sunnyvale
A Place for Children to Learn About The Food System
The expression to “come full circle” is a metaphorical expression that has ancient origins. An early record of the expression may be found coming from the lips of Edgar in Shakespeare’s King Lear: “Th’ hast spoken right, ’tis true. The wheel is come full circle, I am here.” Using the imagery of a “circle” being completed to illustrate meaning of wholeness and completeness could well be as old as the idea or image of the circle itself, so it can hardly be a surprise that the expression has inspired the naming of more than one “Full Circle Farm.” A thorough search on the internet will reveal many agricultural endeavors bearing the moniker of “Full Circle” in one form or another across the United States.
One such endeavor is Full Circle Farm – Sunnyvale, an 11-acre farm located in Sunnyvale, California, right in the center of Silicon Valley, a region once known as the “Valley of Hearts Delight.” Full Circle Farm – Sunnyvale is a project of Sustainable Community Gardens (SCG), a community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation dedicated to the renewal of local, sustainable food systems. While FullCircle.Com is a for-profit enterprise, and FullCircleSunnyvale.Org is a non-profit enterprise, the two organizations were built upon a vision of growing sustainable, healthy food and bringing it directly to consumers. And, both organizations employ strategies toward the goal of healing a broken food system, to bring it “full circle” once again.
The farm in Sunnyvale is located on Santa Clara Unified School District land and has been developed with the assistance of many thousands of volunteers since it was founded only 5 short years ago. It is a remarkable story of urban folks seeking to reclaim their right to be producers as well as consumers of food, and to be innovators in the world-wide phenomenon known as “urban agriculture.” Today, the farm in Sunnyvale offers a unique and integrated model of urban agriculture and garden-based learning and provides a destination point for nearly 16,000 people per year, including volunteers from the well-known giants of Silicon Valley (Yahoo, Google, HP, Intel, Nvidia, NetApp, Applied Materials, Deloitte, and many others), and provides an impressive list of facilities and year-round programs.
Volunteers at Full Circle Farm
What Full Circle – Sunnyvale has to offer:
Full Circle Sunnyvale Site Facilities:
Farm Stand (Open 3 days per week), Packing Shed, Outdoor Classroom, Community Orchard (300+ Trees), Drop-in Community Garden, Children’s Garden, Student Garden, U-Pick Garden, Greenhouse and Shade Production, 5 acres of field production, and a quarter-acre research and demonstration area.
Full Circle Sunnyvale Programs:
CSA (100 members – pick up from farm), Farm Summer Camp (Sponsored by Stanford University), Earth Day Event (attended by 5,000 people this year), Summer Shakespeare Festival (June), Halloween Hoedown Festival, Fall Harvest Feast, Prescription for Farm, and Farm Bucks for Low-Income Consumers.
Summer Farm Camp Kids
The FullCircleSunnyvale.Org website provides many details of the organization’s work, and there is a robust following on Facebook as well. FullCircle.Com and FullCircleSunnyvale.Org are looking at each other to explore opportunities for partnership, especially now that FullCircle.Com is expanding throughout the Bay Area. Given that both organizations share the same ambitions and serve constituencies with similar interests, there is mutual desire to join forces and work toward shared goals, especially in the educational realm. Stay tuned to see what we cook up—fresh from the farm!
Wolfram Alderson is Full Circle Farm – Sunnyvale’s Executive Director. Wolfram’s career was founded in the field of food system change and urban agriculture and he brings several decades of experience in the nonprofit field. In his spare time he enjoys gardening, cycling, and mountain running