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Nurturing our land 

If you look at an aerial view of Our Global Family Village, the quarter-acre is split into four sections. Founder Teresa Lees has set up her farm to correspond with the four corners of the globe: Central and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Within these specific areas she grows produce native to each land.

“I plant the four corners of the globe so that the girls can see where different types of indigenous crops come from,” Lees said. “For example the Americas, in that area we’ll have corn, beans, and squash.”

click to enlarge FARMING:  Teresa Lees teaches her campers at FARMGIRLS Summer Camp to work with and care for harvesting land. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TERESA LEES
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF TERESA LEES
  • FARMING: Teresa Lees teaches her campers at FARMGIRLS Summer Camp to work with and care for harvesting land.

Lees finds that knowledge of crops, agriculture, and how to care for the land is important for all to know. In order to educate her community, Lees created FARMGIRLS Summer Camp, an encouraging place where girls can learn about farming sustainably and cooking with their grown goods.

FARMGIRLS Summer Camp was created a year ago after Lees observed that her community lacked a hands-on learning environment about food production and agriculture.

“It’s really important that people have nature experiences and connection,” she said. “Around here people have that with going to the beach or on a hike but we need to bring it up to the farm scale.”

Lees emphasizes permaculture with her campers, which is the practice of not only focusing on nurturing the crops, but the soil and ultimately the growers.

“With permaculture we’re creating conditions for life to thrive,” she said. “The goal here is to plant things you like, while making sure they have a purpose and benefit the landscape in some way.”

Digging their hands into the soil, learning to care for each unique crop, and being able to make a healthy meal from the end product, is Lees’ goal for her campers.

Each day of the camp the girls will also learn to cook a meal inspired by the crops they have grown, from the soil to the table. First on the menu Lees said is a ratatouille, a casserole of squash, tomatoes, peppers, onion, and eggplant—summer crops.

While her lineup of guest chefs isn’t quite ready, Lees said she’ll make an outdoor kitchen area for her campers and the chef will bring a hotplate if needed.

The camp is from July 11 to 14 and the girls are not only encouraged to learn about the different aspects of farming crops but also working together, and learning from one another.

“It’s time to stand together on the land as one, we are all part of one family on this planet and we have to start thinking this way,” Lees said.

She hopes that at the end of the week the girls are able to take home the knowledge of farming and create their own garden in their backyards.

The camp will be held at Our Global Family Village  located at City Farm SLO—a property owned by the city and managed by the nonprofit organization Central Coast Grown.

City Farm SLO’s 19-acre parcel is part of SLO’s Calle Joaquin Agricultural Preserve, and its purpose is to maintain the landscape in sustainable agricultural production.

For more information about the camp, visit permaculture.us.com/farmgirls

Fast Facts

Easterseals Bob Hope Veterans Support Program aids veterans transitioning from military life to civilian life who are seeking employment. Beginning May 24, customers shopping at Albertsons, Vons, and Pavillions can make a donation to the program at the checkout stand. The promotion runs until May 30 at participating stores.

Cuesta College is hosting a summer pop-up exhibition at the college’s Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery. Los Angeles-based artist Erin McKenna explores gender and sociopolitical stereotypes associated with Toyota pick-up trucks in Yota. The exhibit is running May 27 through June 14. For more information call 546-3202 or email gallery@cuesta.edu.

Staff Writer Karen Garcia wrote this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send tips to strokes@newtimesslo.com.

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