SDG&E employees volunteer at Farm Lab


Hundreds of San Diego Gas and Electric employees and their families on May 20 planted fruit trees, built raised vegetable beds and installed irrigation systems at the Encinitas Union School District’s Farm Lab.

Volunteers also painted sheds, made signs and beautified the fence on the site.

Local and organic farming plays a crucial role in balancing the ecosystem and conserving biodiversity. Avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers helps improve water quality, preserves wetlands and wildlife, and cleans the air. And growing local produce significantly cuts back on the high greenhouse gas emissions that results from global food transportation.

The community “food forest” that surrounds the Farm Lab is home to a canopy of low-water fruit trees and raised vegetable beds containing beans, kale, squash, tomatoes and other vegetables. Once the produce is harvested, it’s taken to the school district’s central kitchen less than three miles away and prepared for school lunches. Food harvested in the summer months when school is out of session is roasted and frozen and later turned into healthy, made-from-scratch sauces and meals. Excess produce is also donated to those in underserved communities.

The Farm Lab not only provides food for the school lunch program, but also serves as a living classroom that teaches the 5,400 students who visit the farm for full-day, hands-on, evidence-based science lessons. The curriculum follows a DREAMS (Design, Research, Engineering, Art, Math and Science) model, where students focus on nutrition, ecology, art and earth science as it all occurs on a working organic farm.

— Submitted press release