Agromin, an Oxnard-based company that produces organic soil products from locally collected green waste, donated 19.25 tons of mulch to Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families for its new Farm-to-School garden program.
Casa Pacifica is the largest non-profit provider of children’s mental health services in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Based in Camarillo, the agency works with more than 2,100 of the region’s most vulnerable children and their families every year in outpatient, residential, and home and community-based settings.
The Farm-to-School program began in June 2022 after youth at Casa Pacifica expressed interest in gardening. The program integrates agriculture education into a life sciences curriculum. Youth are involved in every aspect of the garden—design, selecting and planting crops, maintenance and harvesting. The program teaches students about how to cook with what is grown and the importance of proper nutrition on both physical and mental health.
Students readied the two 10’ inground planters and eight 6’ raised planter beds on the site by removing weeds and tilling the soil. They then spread the mulch throughout the garden and planted strawberries, carrots, radishes and different types of lettuce. The much holds in moisture, controls erosion and prevents weed growth.
“For many Casa Pacifica youth, being part of the Farm-to-School program is their very first garden connection. When they have the experience of planting and caring for something from seed to harvest, it elicits a sense of accomplishment, pride and ownership,” said Ali Villegas, Farm to School program coordinator, Casa Pacifica. “The program teaches youth about agriculture, science and plant growth but more importantly, about community, responsibility and teamwork. Scientists agree that gardening can calm nerves and improve mood. It also decreases cortisol, a hormone that plays a role in stress response. A successful garden begins with healthy soil. We’re grateful to Agromin for donating quality compost that will help our garden grow.”
In August, Agromin donated 8 cubic yards of compost and 8 cubic yards of its container gardening mix to the program. “We’re happy to help make the Farm-to-School program a success,” says Bill Camarillo, Agromin CEO. “Gardening provides positive, life-long lessons for kids.”
About Casa Pacifica:
Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families provides assessment, clinical, medical, residential, and educational services to foster and at-risk children/youth struggling with complex mental health disorders due to past trauma and/or mental illness. The agency is the largest non-profit provider of children’s mental health services in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties and administers fourteen campus- and community-based programs designed to give youth, and their families, the tools they need to heal, rebuild and strengthen relationships, reengage with their educations, and overcome their negative emotional and behavioral challenges. For more information about Casa Pacifica visit its website www.casapacifica.org or call the Development Department at 805-445-7800.
Agromin, headquartered in Oxnard, Calif., manufactures earth-friendly soil products for farmers, government entities, landscapers and gardeners. Agromin serves over 200 California communities, making it one of the largest organics recyclers in the state. Each year, Agromin receives more than 1 million tons of organic material and then uses a safe, natural and sustainable process to recycle the material into more than 300 eco-friendly soil products for landscape, agriculture, consumer and energy markets. The results are more vigorous and healthier plants and gardens, and on the conservation side, the opportunity to close the recycling loop, allowing more room in landfills and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Agromin is a U.S. Composting Council Composter of the Year recipient. For more information, go to www.agromin.com.