Students lend a hand at urban farm

Angel Isioma Oparah
Staff Writer 

Students from the Circle K International Club held a community service hour at the Lopez Urban Farm Saturday in Pomona, planting trees and helping with a variety of farming tasks.  

The University’s Circle K chapter organized the event as part of their ongoing community outreach efforts. Circle K International is one of the largest collegiate service organizations, focused on service, leadership and fellowship initiatives. 

The Lopez Urban Farm, on Fourth Street in Pomona, is a community-based agriculture project focused on promoting healthy lifestyles and environmental sustainability. 

Five student club members assisted with planting, weeding, composting and harvesting crops along with other volunteers at the Pomona farm. 

“We found out about Lopez Urban Farm through the student affairs office of our university and it was a great opportunity, as our focus has been mainly on sustainability, organic foods, local farms, and produce,” said Ethan Solis, sophomore philosophy major and founder of the Circle K International Club at the University.

Among the crops grown at Lopez Urban Farm are peppers, cauliflower, collard greens, spinach, and many herbs used for holistic practices. 

“I’ve been working at this farm for the last few years and Pachamama’s Remedies is about providing accessible, traditional wellness, education and remedies to the community,” said Alicia Davalos, a community herbalist and teacher. “We provide classes on how to make and grow your own medicine for holistic health and well-being.”

Sunny Soon is a project leader for the Alkebulan Garden at the Lopez Urban Farm. The word Alkebulan is known as the ancient name of Africa meaning “mother of mankind” or “Garden of Eden.” 

The goal of this garden is to make available native plants of the African Diaspora, so others can have a taste of the unique cultures of Africa. The Alkebulan Garden is also in partnership with Soul Roots Connect, an organization whose goal is to preserve and highlight cultural crops of the African Diaspora, cultural practices, stories and history. It is also a way to provide a safe space for all members of the African Diaspora to reconnect to nature and to learn basic gardening practices to become self-sufficient. 

“I saw that we need cultural awareness in this space, and working with the urban farm was the opportunity we needed,” Soon said. “We are also looking for people who are willing to collaborate and donate, including other Black farmers.” 

The Lopez Urban Farm organized weekly produce drop-offs to area families experiencing food insecurity issues.

“I was very interested in sustainability at a community level. It is also a way to reconnect with nature,” said Andrea Prado, a California Climate Corps Fellow and University of La Verne alumni. “This experience has allowed me to make connections and I will continue to volunteer.”

Through community service opportunities like Circle K’s, University students can directly support community programs that focus on health, environmental and social benefits.

For more information, follow the University’s Circle K club on Instagram @ulvcirclek.

Angel Isioma Oparah can be reached at angel.oparah@laverne.edu.

Angel Isioma Oparah is a staff writer for the Campus Times and a sophomore journalism major with a concentration in broadcast journalism. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing blogs.

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