SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — After devastating flooding from earlier this year, a local farm is making a comeback. While the damage was hard hitting, farmers at the Wild Willow Farms learned to make the most of what mother nature sent their way.
Neda Iranpour headed to the Tijuana River Valley in this Earth 8 report.
The natural elements here make it so special.
“It feels like were in the middle of nowhere but were right on the edge of the urban area,” Ann Baldridge, Executive Director of the Resource
But those same natural elements can wipe it out in an instant.
The Wild Willow Farm is on a flood plain alongside the Tijuana River, and in mid-January, images show floodwaters taking over the farm after
heavy rain. “The flood covered our growing fields and where we’re standing now.” It was with a heavy heart, Baldridge said all the crops were considered contaminated so they had to start over.
“Of course it was devastating and it did mean we had to stop selling our produce,” Baldridge says.
A consistent group of about 30-40 people counted on their crops for food, getting boxes of fruits and vegetables every week or twice a week.
Now, nearly five months later, they’re still waiting for those crops to grow back.
Baldridge points out, “We've got a lot of cucumbers and squash and tomatoes.”
It took some time to till the land and let the soil rest so the land was ready for replanting. During that time, the farmers were able to rethink some of
their practices and add more variety while building their biodiversity. Baldridge explained, “We're really trying to plan big picture and plan for the future if we want to continue farming here, which we will. How can we withstand when those natural events happen?”
Along with their crops that are starting to grow, they have their orchard full of fruit trees starting to bloom and as a sort of silver lining, this area where the fruit trees are, hasn't needed irrigation in months thanks to the heavy rain.
It’s beautiful to see this variety of colors and flowers and the flowers are thriving now. In fact, later this month they will start selling bouquets of flowers at the farm. “We have sunflowers here and sweet peas and a whole bunch of other flowers,” Baldridge says.
And after a several months long setback, they can now welcome volunteers and students on field trips. Visitors can learn about farming, composting, irrigation and of course meet their goats and chickens.
They also have a calendar full of workshops to teach everything
from bee-keeping to lip balm-making. But most importantly, they’re always learning the lessons of how to work with mother nature, so they don’t face setbacks in the future.
Click here to see a full list of the farm's events.
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