Farm advocacy group to lease 21 acres for demonstration farm

The farm advocacy group Central Coast Grown is making 21 acres of farmland in San Luis Obispo available for lease as a demonstration farm.

This is a move the group hopes will help feed local families and educate the public about the importance of food and farming.

The group leased the land, called the Calle Joaquin Agricultural Reserve or SLO City Farm, from the city at the beginning of the year and is now looking for a farmer or farmers who will sublet the irrigated land for farming and demonstration projects, said Jenna Smith, the group’s executive director.

The land is at the north end of Calle Joaquin and just south of the Dalidio property. For the past four years, it has been planted with cover crops that were harvested for livestock feed. It is intended for row crops but could be used for year-round crops or animal husbandry.

“As far as row crops go, this is perfect,” Smith said.

The group has a 20-year lease on the land from the city and is hoping to partner with an experienced farmer. The land could be divided into parcels as small as 2 to 5 acres to allow multiple farmers to work the land.

The property is ideal for a demonstration farm because it is adjacent to Highway 101. The city also has plans for the Bob Jones Trail to eventually skirt the property, creating public access.

“Educational programs will include programming geared toward teaching children about fruits and vegetables, along with making local foods more accessible within San Luis Obispo County school districts,” the group says in its promotional materials. “This project will aim to educate the general public on local food and farming in order to keep more food dollars in our county and support ongoing farming in this area.”

The deadline for applications is March 15. Visit http://www.centralcoastgrown.org for more information.