Just south of San Francisco near the Pacific coast, a 14-acre working farm has grown into a powerful connector between urban communities and the land. Pie Ranch was established by three sustainable agriculture advocates who wanted not only to develop their beautiful [pie-shaped] wedge of land into a thriving food source, but also offer hands-on education for city youth in the origins of the things we eat.
The name of the ranch holds significance beyond the shape of the site it occupies. Pie Ranch is one big sprawling source of ingredients for -- that's right -- pie. They grow wheat for crust, and fruit and vegetables for filling. They raise chickens for eggs, goats for milk, and bees for honey. School groups trek down from the city to try their hands at planting, weeding, and milking.
And as of just one week ago, students from Mission High School in San Francisco don't have to go to the farm to get involved with Pie Ranch, because the urban farmers have opened up a home in the city. On the corner of 25th and Mission, the bounty of the ranch is being artfully blended into seasonal offerings at their new café, Mission Pie (which, by the way, is just one block from a BART stop, making the journey as sustainable as the destination). This week you can enjoy a slice of apple, walnut or pumpkin with a cup of fair trade organic coffee or tea, served by Mission High students who are employed there after school. Next week, they'll add another flavor to the menu.
This is good grub, to be sure, from seed to table within a radius less than 100 miles. Mission Pie will undoubtedly offer wonderful opportunities for patrons to connect to their food and the surrounding community, all while enjoying a sweet piece of pie with an even sweeter story.
I think if this idea gets implemented into big cities, including mine in Toronto, where the demand is high for land, students will grow up with the hands-on experience that they would not have in their normal highschool curriculum. It's about time we change the education methods in our schools and change our thinking from a young age.
sweet conscious community!