We have just left the Bay Area of California in our big red bus and now find ourselves south of Los Angeles. Our time in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland was awesome and we really hope to return again in the future. Everywhere you look there are incredible urban agriculture projects, cool farmers markets and people interested in the local food movement. Like all major cities that we’ve seen, there are still many neighborhoods that still do not have easy access to fresh, local food. We had the priviledge of volunteering our time and labor at the Tenderloin Neighborhood Garden in San Fransico on Monday. We worked on building new raised vegetable beds and engaging local neighbors in how to volunteer at the garden site.
Building raised beds at the Tenderloin Garden
We also got to visit the Berkeley Farmers Market before leaving town and met some wonderful students and neighbors from around town. Throughout the morning we heard some great stories and learned about a variety of different agriculture projects going on all across the Bay.
Now we are in the beautiful town of El Segundo, reflecting on the wonderful day we have just had. Yesterday evening after endless hours of grueling Los Angeles traffic, we pulled into town to be greeted with a home cooked dinner and cozy beds. Theresa Loe, our good friend and PBS producer of the TV show “Growing a Greener World”, has kindly welcomed us into her home. The last time we saw Theresa and the film crew was in Seattle so it was great to reunite further south.
The Sol Food "mug shot" with Theresa Loe!
Theresa has allowed us to do much needed laundry, take showers and provided us with amazing food! We have gotten to know her family as well and could not be more thankful for their hospitality. For the past two days we have been traveling down the coast, through Big Sur and into southern California. We went swimming in the Pacific despite the cold, saw tons ofelephant seals and watched some spectacular sunsets each night.
Big Sur, CA
Also thanks to Theresa and her logistical brilliance we managed to arrange two jam-packed days of school visits in her neighborhood. Today our morning began at 5:45 am so that we could arrive at El Segundo Highschool by 6:20. We spent the morning with almost fifty highschool and middle school science students. Every student was invited to come aboard the Sol Food bus and hear a full presentation about our national tour. The students have been working on robotics and environmental engineering topics for the past few weeks. Given their experience level, we focused heavily on the sustainable systems found on our vehicle such as: the solar panels, battery bank, veggie oil engine, rain water collection tanks, and living greenroof. We also hosted the most people in the greenhouse that we have ever had at one time. Needless to say elbow room was limited and we had a packed house!
Getting ready for bus tours!
After leaving the highschool we enjoyed a wonderful vegan meal at the Veggie Grill and then headed to the local El Sugundo Middle School. There we continued our bus expositions until three in the afternoon. We have had yet another incredible day on this trip, filled with engaging questions from the students and inspiring stories. We were interested to learn that Chevron, which is based here in town, sponsors the construction of engineering and science labs at schools all across the state. We got to tour one of their labs which is specializing in innovative techology for highschool and middle school students.
Engineering Lab students
Tomorrow we will be working with kindergarden classes, from the local elementary school on planting and transplanting vegetable seeds and starts. We are really looking forward to getting another layer of greenhouse veggies growing for some gardens down in Austin, TX. We will be leaving El Segundo on Saturday morning and heading east for the first time in the entire trip! As a crew, we will certainly be sad to leave the west coast and all of the beautiful memories it has given us.
Dylan the bus driver for the day!
Over the past month we have traveled through Seattle, Portland, Eugene, Redwoods National Park, Muir Beach, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Los Angeles. It will feel strange to be leaving the Pacific Ocean finally, after marveling over it for weeks.
Pacific Ocean near Ragged Point, CA
But the road is pulling us towards Arizona and we must follow. Our next stop will land us in Phoenix and then north to the Grand Canyon. We are especially looking forward to meeting up with our dear friend Jourdi who is staying with us in Phoenix for 2 days. Jourdi is in the middle of a cross country road trip as well…except her mode of transportation is a bicycle! We left Durham, North Carolina only one month before Jourdi and she is already meeting us in the wild west. We are looking forward to catching up with her and exchanging endless stories of life on the road.
Driving through San Francisco, CA