This financial insecurity also leads to food insecurity, with many of the “working underprivileged”—who are primarily multi-ethnic and majority immigrants of Latino and Asian origin—lacking access to healthy, fresh produce. As a result, these communities have seen increases in obesity and diabetes. Valley Verde is working to change that.

Founded in 2012, Valley Verde helps low-income residents to grow organic vegetables in their own yards. The organization has served more than 380 families through its community food systems model, which provides families with raised-bed and supplies needed to grow organic vegetables at home for at least a year. Valley Verde provides monthly workshop for family members to learn about sustainable agricultural practices and healthy eating, as well as one-on-one mentorship. As the program has grown, Valley Verde has grown its pool of gardening mentors, and even started an advanced three-year apprenticeship program – Super Jardineros—that helps participants grow commercial-quality seedlings to generate earned-income, in addition to providing food for their families. 

Our Role

To reach their next phase of expansion, Valley Verde set their sights on creating a central community gardening space. The Conservation Fund provided two grants through its Community Food Sovereignty (CFS) program to support the Super Jardineros at a greenhouse facility that will serve as the center of the community garden in downtown San Jose. The Community Food Sovereignty program is a three-year initiative that is using conservation as a tool to advance community control over local food systems, or food sovereignty, in vulnerable communities. 

In the new greenhouse, the Super Jardineros will be able to sow spring and summer seeds for use in home gardens, as well as for sale through local retailers. The community garden will also provide a place to hold workshops on skills such as seed cultivation. CFS funds are also helping Valley Verde continue to expand their home gardening training by purchasing supplies for raised beds, seeds, drip irrigation and workshops to teach sustainable, organic growing practices. 

Why This Project Matters

Organizations like Valley Verde are working with and for communities, helping them connect with the land and nature in a way that empowers them to take control of both their health and their economic future. Their work is improving the long-term food sovereignty of their community by developing the knowledge and resources families to need to grow and use their own organic vegetables and to share their skills and produce with others. Through our Community Food Sovereignty initiative, we are supporting organizations across the country who are empowering communities to determine their own future and the stewardship of their natural resources, food systems and local economies.

Learn More

Visit Valley Verde's Website
Visit the Community Food Sovereignty program page