Since 2012, Valley Verde has worked with families in San Jose and Gilroy, CA, providing them with intensive, year-round support to grow fresh, healthy produce at home. Our flagship Home Gardening program provided over 280 families-in-need with raised-bed gardens and all the supplies they needed to grow organic vegetables at home, along with a full year of workshops about urban agriculture and healthy eating. Now, we are building on the success of the Home Gardening program with our new Super Jardineros apprenticeship, an opportunity for some of our most dedicated gardeners to gain professional-level horticultural skills and generate earned-income for themselves while contributing to the sustainability of this organization.
While Santa Clara County’s median income is one of the highest in the nation, it is no secret that our region also has tremendous income inequality. A person would have to work three and a half full-time minimum wage jobs to support a family with two children in Santa Clara County. In short, many working families simply cannot make ends meet. Approximately 17% of children here live in food insecure households, meaning that they don’t have access to adequate food on a daily basis. Valley Verde begins to address these challenges through home gardening, which builds families’ food self-sufficiency and reduces grocery expenses. The Super Jardineros program takes this one step further by helping apprentices develop specialized job skills and increase their income through a small business model, which also contributes to the community’s food security.