Coastal Roots Farm is a nonprofit community farm and education center in Encinitas built on land indigenous to the Kumeyaay and Luiseño peoples (Luiseno are indigenous to Fallbrook).
The farm has been able to reach far beyond its coastal roots to connect with Indigenous/Native families throughout the county to deliver farm-based educational programs and offer organic food distributions.
From May 2021 to March 2022, they were able to donate more than 70,000 pounds of fresh, organic fruit, vegetables, herbs, and protein-rich eggs to more than 1,970 individuals through the American Indian Health Center and the Iipay Nation in Santa Ysabel.
“If you want your family to eat well, you have to give them good food,” said Bernice Paipa, Tribal Chairwoman of the Iipay Nation at Santa Ysabel. “When we first started this distribution with the farm, most of the produce you would bring to the community had never been seen or tried before.
“Food truly is medicine and people don’t know that. We are very isolated from the main towns, and it can take up to an hour to get to the grocery store. This requires time and gas, plus it’s hard to get perishable food when it must sit in the car for that amount of time. It is cheaper and easier to eat fast. So, the community is eager for this distribution,” Paipa said.
The food donations included educational resources such as healthy recipes, nutritional information, and storage tips to ensure recipients understand what they are eating and how food plays a critical role in their health.
All participants agreed that the food distribution helped their household eat more fresh produce than they would otherwise be able to afford. A majority also reported eating a new vegetable or fruit.
Coastal Roots Farm partners with San Diego tribal communities to:
(1) Support the building of community gardens on reservations (larger projects at Campo and Santa Ysabel reservations)
(2) Provide technical training and support to grow food in tribal communities
(3) Welcome tribal youth, adults, and elders to Coastal Roots Farm for hands-on technical gardening training and farm experiences
(4) Provide the farm as a space near the coast for tribal communities to gather for their own programs and activities as the First Peoples of this land
Join Coastal Roots Farm for its annual Farm Film & Music series. The first event took place on June 23 with the film Gather, which documents the growing movement among Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political, and cultural identities through food sovereignty.
Future films include:
• Thursday, August 18 - Unbroken Ground
• Thursday, September 15 - The Biggest Little Farm
• Thursday, October 13 - Fantastic Fungi
Link to register: https://coastalrootsfarm.org/farm-film-music-series/
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to [email protected].