We employ a sustainable, hand-scale system of production agriculture that considers the health of the soil, the careful and conservative use of resources, and the human impact on the land and surrounding ecosystems. Our methodology aims to mimic natural processes, encourage biodiversity, reduce off-farm inputs and cycle our nutrients on site. We use innovative technologies such as aquaponics that are well suited to urban areas, and our infrastructure includes extensive greywater and solar electricity systems to reduce our ecological footprint.
HOW WE GROW
The foundation of our farm is our soil, and like much of the Bay Area, our native growing medium is a heavy clay. Before moving to our current site, we did extensive soil testing for a wide range of contaminants. Finding the soil we hoped to cultivate to be free of toxins, we broke ground using mechanical tillage, incorporating compost and planting cover crop to improve the tilth and vitality of the soil. After two years of diligent stewarding, our soil was ready to support crop cultivation. We said goodbye to our rental tractor, hand dug our beds, and put the first seedlings in our native soil in late Spring of 2018.
Urban Adamah’s farming methods incorporate wisdom from several systems of organic agricultural production. We use concepts from Biodynamics, Permaculture, and French Intensive to inform best practices in working with the soil and ecology of the land.
We aim to steward the soil as a living medium wherein diverse living creatures and complex processes work together to support healthy, nutritious plant growth. We use digging forks and spades to encourage deeply aerated, well-drained, biologically active, and fertile soil that can support highly intensive plantings. Deep initial cultivation and frequent compost applications yields the loose tilth and the air-filled pore spaces that encourage vigorous root growth.
Additionally, we have established perennial bed ends, permanent raised beds, a native beneficial border, and restored a bioswale to attract pollinators and improve drainage on the perimeter of the farm. We use integrated pest management, cover crop, homemade fertilizers, and worm castings to address disease and pest pressure, as well as to manage fertility in our soil.
Here at Urban Adamah we designed and built a state-of-the-art aquaponics system housed in a commercial-scale greenhouse. Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (the raising of fish) and hydroponics (the raising of plants in a soil-less medium). It is an innovative style of greenhouse-based agriculture that utilizes nitrogen-rich fish excrement to fertilize crops. Our aquaponics greenhouse is highly water-efficient as it continuously filters and recycles irrigation water.
Our farm is cultivated by our three person farm team, who oversee the work of the 12 – 14 young adults participating in our three-month residential fellowship. Fellows learn experientially about urban organic farming, food justice, Jewish tradition, and mindfulness through educational activities and through work on the farm, as well as through internships in local urban garden and food justice organizations. Our farm, in turn, also depends on the generosity of many volunteers who help it thrive. Educational programs – youth camps, school groups, and workshops – also contribute to the success of the farm.
To support the vitality of the farm, we rely on the significant contributions of our chickens, goats, bees, and worms. These animals not only supply fertilizer, they also offer companionship, opportunities for education, and the freshest and healthiest milk, eggs, and honey. We raise our animals humanely and lovingly, providing organic sources of food and natural habitat for them to thrive.
Our flock of egg-laying hens roam free in our fruit orchard during the day, fertilizing the trees with their manure and scratching for insects. They help us to control our pest populations while also fulfilling their dietary needs for protein.
Worms of many kinds are native residents here and abundantly inhabit our beds and compost piles. We also raise California red wigglers in a designated vermicompost bin, which we harvest for greenhouse fertility and use for educational purposes.
Our small herd of dairy goats brings us great joy and provide manure for our compost piles. They help us teach our fellows about animal husbandry and provide milk for drinking and cheese-making.
Our honey bees, located in the native plant bioswale, provide the vital service of pollinating our crops as well as providing a bi annual supply of honey.
Sustainability is a core value across our organization and we strive to be as thoughtful as possible about resource conservation, reuse, and repurposing. We use water-conservative drip irrigation for our annual crops and recycled greywater for our perennials. We recycle our farm waste products (manure and crop residues) into compost that is returned to the soil. We are committed to buying organic feed whenever possible. We also have solar panels on our administrative building, Retreat Lodge, and Residence.
We use water-conservative drip irrigation for our annual crops and recycled greywater for our perennials.
We recycle our farm waste products (manure and crop residues) into compost that is returned to the soil.
We are committed to buying local and organic feed whenever possible. We also source as much of our farm equipment as possible through the waste stream, attempting to not purchase any new raw material.
We have solar panels on our administrative building, Retreat Lodge, and Residence.