San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project
is a growing network of citizens, farmers, chefs, gardeners, teachers, and students working to encourage the growth and consumption of regional food. From farm to fork, we focus awareness and work toward a more ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just food system in San Diego.
By eating locally, not only do you get fresher, better-tasting food, but you also help support family farms and encourage a vibrant local economy. Please explore the bountiful agricultural and gardening opportunities in San Diego, learn how to become an informed participant in our local food system, and help us encourage others to do the same.
Please Vote Mel Lions as San Diego County
Cox Conserves Hero Volunteer of the Year
100% of proceeds will support
Wild Willow Farm & Education Center
Mel is founder and volunteer director of San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project and Wild Willow Farm & Education Center. He has been selected as one of three finalists in the 2014 Cox Conserves Hero contest.
Created in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, the program recognizes local environmental volunteers and donates money to local nonprofits on their behalf. The winner is the nominee who receives the most online votes.
What we'll do with our winnings:
Install a second classroom in the field so we can offer more activities at the farm
Install a walk-in cooler so we can keep our produce fresher
Build a field tool shed
Voting takes place between July 9 and August 6.
Why Mel Deserves Your Vote: For the past 13+ years, Mel's ample energy and vision have been devoted toward building an activated network of community members working together to encourage the growth and consumption of regional food. By eating locally, not only do you get fresher, better-tasting and more-nutritious food, but you also help support family farms and encourage a vibrant local economy. Mel encourages everyone to explore the bountiful agricultural and gardening opportunities in San Diego, learn how to grow food, become an informed participant in our local food system, and to encourage others to do the same. He volunteers full time for this cause.
Our Primary Programs
LEARN FARMING at our next Farming 101 session:
Basics of Small-scale Sustainable Farming
Classes begin Wednesday, September 3
Last day of classes is Thursday, November 20
Applications now being accepted.
Enrollment begins August 4.
CLASSES Wednesday evenings in San Diego
Select the Lab and Practicum to fit your schedule!
FIELD LABS at Wild Willow Farm
Thursday or Saturday
FARM PRACTICA at Wild Willow Farm
choice of Mon., Tue., Wed., Fri. or Sat.
Wild Willow Farm's Sustainable Farming 101 course offers students an introduction to techniques and strategies for small farming or agricultural advocacy, or to simply grow more of their own food.
The course consists of lectures, field labs and farm practicum work where students learn what it takes to work a small organic farm. Students take part in classroom lectures and projects, and work alongside farm staff to practice material covered in class.
We invite you to join us as we plant seeds for a healthy and delicious shared future.
Now enrolling for Full and Half Shares
Pickups in Imperial Beach, Chula Vista,
Mission Hills and Talmadge
You are invited to become a Wild Willow Farm Shareholder -- our version of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Each weekly or bi-weekly Share includes a seasonal selection of farm-fresh vegetables with occasional fruits, cut flowers, and herbs -- the equivalent of about one grocery bag full of just-harvested produce. Contents of your Share will vary based on seasons and production cycles, but we aim for consistent volume.
every week for 12 weeks = $240
every other week for 12 weeks = $120
Both Full and Half Shares are $20/each/week, and are the same size. You may join any time shares are available.
Pickup Locations: Imperial Beach, Mission Hills, Chula Vista, Talmadge
Pickups are all on Wednesday afternoons/evenings.
New Drop sites sought!
You can apply to become a FarmShare drop site with five or more weekly subscriptions (locations south of Interstate 8 and west of Interstate 15 preferred). To find out more, contact Dorothea at
Saturday, August 16
Volunteering, Free Yoga, Native Plant Tour, Farm Tour,
Potluck, Wood-fired Pizza, Music, Bonfire and more!
@ Wild Willow Farm
click here for a map (we recommend you use our map)
(donations in support of our programs are appreciated)
Check out photos from May's potluck,
taken by our friend Gregory Berg!
Schedule for the Day
11am to 4pm: Volunteer on the farm
Learn while doing.
4pm: Led by Niina Lobbestael in the barn.
4 to 7pm: Purchase freshly harvested veggies.
4 to 7pm: Native plants, veggie starts and succulents for your garden
(by donation to support our educational programs)
5pm: Farm Tour
Led by Wild Willow staff and students. See what we do, and learn why and how we do it.
Know your farmer, know your farm, know your food.
5pm: Native Plant Botanical Tour
Learn about native plants at WWF and the TJ River Park led by botanist Lisa Ordonez.
with farm-made, organic sourdough wood-fired pizza (donations requested).
Please bring something yummy to share!
Dusk -- BYODrum(s)
Our farm is all about community, so what better way to say that than by hosting a monthly community gathering? On third Saturdays each month from March through November, we host volunteer opportunities, tours, a grand potluck meal, and bonfire.
Something yummy to share (extra points for something homemade using organic, locally grown ingredients). Please label your dish and ingredients (share your recipes!).
Your own plate, cup and eating utensils help us keep this a zero-waste event.
Please pack out your recylables and trash.
Jacket and warm clothing. It gets surprisingly cold here at night.
We welcome everyone, but please leave your pets at home.
About our potlucks: volunteering, free mini-workshops, farm tour, potluck, bonfire, drumming. Farming is all about food. And food is best when shared with community. At our potlucks Wild Willow gives thanks to our amazing community of students, volunteers, educators, fans and eaters of every stripe. Familiar faces and new smiles are always welcome to these joyous gatherings that include educational workshops, volunteer activities, farm tour, potluck dinner, and drum circle around our cob firepit. See photos from our May 2014 potluck taken by Gregory Berg.
2014 OPEN-HOUSE/POTLUCKS: September 20, October 18, November 15
Open Volunteering at Wild Willow Farm
every Saturday, 11am to 4pm (rain cancels)
No experience necessary. No reservations required.
Come to the farm and participate in your food system as we grow Wild Willow Farm. Often the best way to learn is by doing, and you'll get a taste of the myriad things a farmer does while preparing and growing San Diego seasonal plantings of vegetables, greens, medicinal and culinary herbs and cover crops.
On-farm chores vary widely week to week and depend entirely on what's happening at the farm that day. Usual activities include composting (hands-on learning every week), watering, bed prep, weeding, mulching, animal care, planting and tending a huge range of plants and more.
No reservations are required. We've got the gloves, tools and tasks, just come prepared for sunshine and dirt (sun hat, appropriate clothing, sturdy closed-toe shoes) and please bring a lunch. We have plenty of drinking water, but having your own water bottle makes it easier for you.
Children: You may bring kids of any age you feel suitable to be around a farm, including contact with dirt, bugs, thistles and burrs, farm animals, tools, and nature. Rest assured that we do not use any harmful chemicals on the property. Children must remain under your direct supervision or awareness at all times; we'll do our best to find appropriate work for your family. Please no unacompanied children unless by prior arrangement, such as for school service hours. Wild Willow Farm does not offer childcare services and the farm is not a playground.
We welcome people of all ages and abilities, but please leave your pets at home.
August 20 - 26
Volunteer for chance to win tickets to see Jack Johnson!
For every three contiguous hours given during Volunteer Week, volunteers will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win a pair of tickets to Jack Johnson's La Lolla concert on Aug. 30.
Donated by: All at Once
As nonprofit partners with San Diego Roots, the Johson Ohana Foundation will be donating up to $3000 in support of the educational programs at Wild Willow Farm & Education Center.
Many thanks to these fine folks for generously supporting our work!
Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Co-op has provided an ongoing grant of $1000/month in support of our educational field trips to the farm for local school kids since May of 2011. People's Co-op has also made many other donations and provided strong support for our efforts and common goals over the years.
Local Race/Run producer Sandy Feet Events donated $1395 proceeds from the 2014 Resolution Run on Jan. 6, 2014, and donated $1630 proceeds from the Wild Willow Farm 5K and Chili-Brewfest that took place on September 28, 2013. Since 2011 Sandy Feet Events has raised over $7800 for Wild Willow Farm!
Jimbo's Naturally contributed $1,180 in 2013 via their "It's in the Bag" program, representing 23,602 votes for our work, and saving 30,434 recycled bags. Since 2010, Jimbo's bag program has raised nearly $4000 for the farm.
Musician Jack Johnson and the Johnson Ohana Foundation gave $3000 and promotional support during his local appearance on October 18, 2013. Jack has been a strong supporter of our work and since 2008 has donated $9000 for both Victory Gardens San Diego and Wild Willow Farm.
Supervisor Greg Cox awarded a County of San Diego Community Enhancement Grant of $15,000 to fund our ongoing fence project and upgrading our irrigation system.
2013 SDG&E Environmental Champion Grant: $5000 for program improvements.
Kashi REAL Project: Donated $15,000 which has been used for infrastructure improvements around the farm. Since 2011, Kashi REAL and Kashi employees have donated over $28,000 to support our work at Wild Willow Farm & Education Center.
Horizon Foundation: in 2013 awarded a grant of $5000 to support our farm school and install a volunteer coordinator.