While you may not know its name, you have most likely seen its work. Farmscape has cultivated a reputation of growing urban farms. Its most recent creation is the farm at the centerpiece of the Agrihood development on Winchester Boulevard.
The 1.5-acre plot of land features flowers and produce that not only create a food source for the residents of Agrihood but also the community as a whole.
It is managed by Farmscape, the same brilliant agricultural minds behind the Faithful Farm that sits atop Levi’s Stadium and the Giants’ vegetable garden at Oracle Park. In Agrihood, the team has created an urban farm with stables like cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes, but it does not maximize its space and that’s by design.
“One of the things that we have to balance in a project like this is both accessibility and productivity. So, the layout that you see is not maximized for food production solely because we’re on a site that’s supposed to be for people of all ages, people of all abilities,” said Lara Hermanson, the co-founder of Farmscape. “We did keep track of ADA requirements as we built this designed and built this project. But we do enough community gardens that I got a pretty good idea, and my farmers do too of what we’re going to grow that’s going to make people the happiest.”
While Hermanson and the rest of the Farmscape team have a good idea of what produce to place in the farm, she admits it will be a bit of trial and error the first year or two.
“Each microclimate in the Bay Area is different. And so, farming in Walnut Creek versus Santa Clara versus San Francisco versus Pacifica is completely different,” said Hermanson. “With every location that we do, I do feel like it really takes a year to get it dialed. So, we make our best guess based on a bunch of data from the University of California cooperative…we look at weather data and we use the Bible of California Bay Area growing Golden Gate Gardening by Pam Peirce.
“We start from there,” continued Hermanson. “[Peirce has] done a great job of determining what grows well in what microclimate. But then we do have to factor in climate change, which has been affecting all of our crops really heavily. And so, the first year, we experiment.”
Plus, the farm is set up so that the community can have input on what will and will not be grown in the rows.
The farm is organic and Farmscape plans to do three rotations of crops per year, allowing for maximum yield. Farmers will utilize natural methods like composting and vermicomposting to help keep the soil fresh. Drought-tolerant plants will also be included.
For more information about Farmscape, you can visit the company’s website at FarmscapeGardens.com. You can learn more about the farm at the Agrihood development at agrihood-sc.com/plant-your-own-farm/.
The ribbon was officially cut on the Agrihood project on Sept. 20, 2023. In addition to the farm, the site includes 181 below-market-rate housing units, mostly for local seniors as well as another 180 units at market rate. The development was funded in part with money from Santa Clara County’s Measure A.