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Pixca Farm continues to bring fresh local food to the Tijuana River Valley community

The Pixca Farm a small, urban farm worker co-op, that's bringing fresh food to a local food desert and beyond.

SAN DIEGO — On a ½ acre plot of land in the Tijuana River Valley, the work continues at Pixca Farm, even on a sticky September day.

“So, this time of year we are changing out a lot of our crops,” said Leonard Vargas, co-owner of Pixca Farm.

Vargas is a 3rd generation farmer in San Diego.

His grandparents came here from Mexico and some of his earliest memories were helping on the family farm.

“Oh, I was in diapers!” said Vargas, laughing. “Truly, that’s when I was first remember being in a garden, I was a toddler,”

Now, he co-owns the micro-farm, which has 90 beds of vegetables and flowers that help to bring fresh produce to this border community.

“So, we don’t compete on price,” said Vargas. “But our cucumbers will stay in your fridge for a month and still be good, our lettuce will stay in your fridge for up to a month and still be good,”

Work on the Pixca Farm has had its challenges. Keeping the pests away is a constant concern.

In late December of 2019 18-inches of flood water wiped out the vegetable farm. There was no choice but to clean up the land and plant fresh flowers instead.

Then 3 months later, the pandemic hit.

“We were like ‘Oh no, now what,’ but we kept going and then that may we hit a market because they weren’t importing flowers from other countries and people were looking for flowers to give their mothers and we had them,” said Vargas.

And fresh flowers, specifically marigolds are the biggest seller for the farm.

“We are trying to hit Dia de Los Muertos with this and that’s a big holiday for this area,” said Vargas. “It’s nice that we are able to provide something that is grown by people of color and not just some corporation that is reaping the benefit of somebody else’s culture,”

Co-owner Erik Rodriguez says he doesn’t mind the hard work even in the heat. He also operates the Pixca Corner Stand on weekends to serve the local community and the county.

“On Saturday, this corner stand is typically bustling with customers buying some of the products from the farm and whatever does not sell here, gets dropped off here to a community refrigerator,” said Rodriguez. “Like this one that brings fresh produce to those in need in other parts of our county and some people might fall on hard times and pass by the fridge and they could use some fresh lettuce, locally grown,”

Vargas says coming from a family of farmers, this is exactly where he is supposed to be. Even if the work here never ends.

“We can’t grow enough, we need to grow more, and we could sell it,” said Vargas.

For more information on the Pixca Farm, go to pixca.org

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