Organizers broke ground Tuesday on a 7.5 acre ‘urban farm’ in southwest Fresno designed to expand access to healthy food in an area challenged by persistent poverty.

When it opens, the unique community space will give residents in the area access to planting areas for growing their own vegetables, along with support from experts to help ensure their gardens thrive.

The plan for the Yosemite Village Permaculture Urban Farm and Community Garden is the brainchild of Fresno Metro Ministry. The non-profit teamed with a number of public agencies to bring the concept to fruition.

Improving Healthy Food Options

“It’s an exciting partnership that will provide residents in southwest Fresno the opportunity to work together as a community to provide healthy food options for family meals and become an engaged community,” said Preston Prince, CEO of the Fresno Housing Authority.  The project, called Yo’Ville, is being built on housing authority property along California Avenue.

In addition to garden plots, Yo’Ville will include walking paths, hundreds of native and fruit-bearing trees, a greenhouse and composting facilities. Students from Edison High School, mentored by experts from the UC Master Gardeners program and the Youth Leadership Institute, will take the lead on outreach to local residents.

The Yosemite Village Permaculture Farm and Garden will provide garden plots for southwest Fresno residents to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables. Hundreds of native trees and shrubs will also be planted on the property, which includes gravel walking paths and other amenities. (Jahz Tello/GV Wire)

Garden plots will be available to neighborhood residents in time for the spring vegetable planting season, organizers say. Yo’Ville will initially be be managed by Metro Ministry with the goal of turning responsibility over to neighborhood leaders and organizations in the future.

“Our vision is for Yo’Ville to serve as a platform for multicultural and multigenerational exchange of knowledge, culture, food, skills, and resilience,” said Chris DeLeon, Metro Ministry’s Community Garden Coordinator.

First Project from Major Climate Grant

The project is largely underwritten by funds from Fresno’s $66.5 million Transformative Climate Communities grant. Additional financial support was provided by organizations including the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“It’s a perfect example of the promise that the Transformative Climate Communities grant provides – community-based solutions to our biggest challenges that help our neighborhoods grow together,” Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said.

Metro Ministry has scheduled a community volunteer day on Saturday (Oct. 5) to begin planting the hundreds of trees and shrubs that will grow throughout the Yo’Ville property. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.  To sign up for one of the three available planting sessions, click here.

The Yosemite Village Permaculture Farm and Garden is located at 872 W. Atchison Court in Fresno.

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