A fiery gem grows in West Sacramento

By Bia Riaz
bia@news-ledger.com

Image courtesy of their Facebook page.

Image courtesy of their Facebook page.

A simple grassy field behind Yolo High School in West Sacramento was transformed into a vibrant urban farm this past September. Known as the Food for Families Farm Site, this 1.5-acre tract of land became the fourth urban farm created under the West Sacramento Urban Farm Program. Owned by Washington Unified School District, the farm is funded by Raley’s Supermarket. As part of Raley’s Food for Families Program, 25 percent of the farm’s produce is dedicated to providing food to families in need. This urban farm is home to The Fiery Ginger Farm; brainchild of local farmers Hope Sippola and Shayne Zurilgen.
As graduates from the Center for Land-Based Learning’s Farm Academy, Hope and Shayne were excited to have the opportunity to farm in an urban area, and share their agricultural knowledge and experience with the community and the students from local high schools.
Hope had prior experience working with youth at the School Gardens Program at Davis Joint Unified School District. Fellow Farm Academy graduate, Shayne, as a school teacher from Stockton, also had considerable experience working with children and agriculture. “The idea was to have a farm that would provide a hands-on agricultural experience for the kids at the local schools,” Hope said.
Although it is the quiet time of the season, the students from Yolo High have been helping Hope and Shayne get ready for the coming year. Every Thursday, the students learn about the basics of farming and the harvesting process. Some of their activities include: inspecting the vegetables for quality, washing, and packing. Hope shared her excitement about how the students really enjoy the learning process and are very engaged and eager. They recently harvested purple carrots and one of the students expressed, “This one’s rotten!”
As a small urban farm, they do enjoy partnering with other farmers, selling to local restaurants, providing produce for the CSA in the spring season, building strong relationships with surrounding communities, and facing some unique challenges of dealing with different types of soil, land, and infrastructure.
Recently, they partnered with Good Foot Farms to bring a flock of 17 chickens to Friery Ginger Farm. Now their Tuesday and Thursday Farm Stand will feature fresh eggs from their poultry farm partner. This week’s farm stand also offered broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and chard.
They are excited about the coming year and have many activities planned with both Yolo, and River City High School.
Stop by and visit them on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Fiery Ginger Farm Stand behind Yolo High School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and enjoy the healthy harvests of the new year.

For more information, visit their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fieryginger12