Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

North Coast Church volunteers unite for a day of service at The Agrarian Institute, Bonsall Berry Farm

BONSALL – In a collaboration unfolding with 100 volunteers from North Coast Church, The Agrarian Institute and Bonsall Berry Farm worked together for a day of service and community building, Saturday, Feb. 24. The event marked a step forward in the shared mission of fostering sustainability, education and compassion within the North County community.

The Agrarian Institute and Bonsall Berry Farm are two organizations with one shared hillside farm vision – to love their neighbors and serve the community. The Agrarian Institute, a nonprofit education farm, is committed to nourishing and empowering the community by growing organic vegetables for food-insecure families and empowering families through regenerative gardening classes and events.

The Bonsall Berry Farm, which is scheduled to open its gates later this year, aims to create a sanctuary where families and friends can engage with nature, learn about regenerative farming and partake in the joy of berry picking amidst the picturesque landscape overlooking the historic Bonsall Bridge.

Participants rolled up their sleeves to plant fruit trees donated by Moon Valley Nurseries, spread mulch donated by Agri Service and Mary Matava and undertake various tasks including weeding and the construction of a 200-yard trench for watershed management.

Meanwhile, over 20 children enthusiastically engaged in planting onions and learned about the awesomeness of regenerative agriculture in The Agrarian Institute's wheelchair-accessible education garden.

The fruits of this labor will not only benefit the local ecosystem, but it will also serve a cause as all produce harvested from the 22 newly planted trees will be dedicated to supporting Operation HOPE – North County's food pantry.

OHNC, an emergency shelter catering to families with children and single women in North County San Diego, will also receive ongoing vegetable and fruit donations from The Agrarian Institute to address the critical needs of vulnerable members within our community.

Reflecting on the event, Mario DeMatteo, executive director of The Agrarian Institute, expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support.

"The overwhelming response and generosity of our partners show the power of community," DeMatteo, who has been a wheelchair user since sustaining a permanent spinal cord injury in 2004, said. "Together, we are sowing the seeds of compassion, sustainability and resilience." While exact numbers are unknown, DeMatteo is likely one of few farmers in the United States who are wheelchair users.

North Coast Church, known for its dedication to serving the community, brought its spirit of service to the event.

"We feel called to be out helping people, especially people who are helping others," Connor McFadden, pastor of community service at North Coast Church, said. "I could tell people really enjoyed themselves being out in this beautiful place and working hard for an amazing cause."

The Agrarian Institute and Bonsall Berry Farm said this event epitomizes the spirit of community and the potential for meaningful impact when they come together with a shared vision and that through initiatives like the volunteer day, partnerships are forged, communities are strengthened and a brighter, more sustainable future is cultivated for all.

The Agrarian Institute was founded in 2022 to end food insecurity in San Diego by nourishing and empowering its neighbors. To learn more about The Agrarian Institute, visit

Submitted by The Agrarian Institute.


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