@Red Gold/Steve Smith
"The seeds of starting Valley Verde were planted in my consciousness a long time ago in the early 1960s.
My family immigrated to Mountain View in 1963, where my father rented a house that was situated in the middle of two large tomato fields…very large! No surrounding neighbors -- just our family lived out there next to the fields. My older brother and I would run through the tomato fields picking them, eating them, and having tomato fights.
Today, our family would be described as very low income, so my father always had a garden in the backyard growing all kinds of vegetables to feed the family during the seven years we lived there. After seven years of playing in the fields and eating tomatoes though, I could not eat another one for 23 years - I had had enough!
When I got into organic gardening in the mid-1990s I decided to grow some organic tomatoes to try them again and relive a bit of my childhood. I couldn’t believe how delicious they tasted, and I haven’t stopped growing and eating them since.
In 2007, amid the housing and economic crash, many hard-working families lost their jobs, houses, and faith in our financial system here in the U.S. The news consistently reported how food banks were overwhelmed with families seeking food assistance to feed their families.
So in 2008, I decided to do something to help these families help themselves by teaching them how to grow organic vegetables in their backyards.
This personal call to action has resulted in over 500 families graduating from our home gardening program, and the installation of over 530 raised garden beds, and that number continues to grow each year. As a result, the families in our programs not only have organic vegetables right in their backyards, but they also have the skills and knowledge to strengthen their community's resiliency."