Meet our new favorite farm-direct relationship: Mission High School! We’re proud to feature student-grown and harvested produce from Mission High’s new urban farm in our Deli case and in our Produce department.
The Mission Youth Farm (MY Farm) project is a 7,900-square-foot plot and outdoor education space situated on the northwest edge of the Mission High School campus, nestled next to the Mission Bears’ football field. The urban farm represents a tremendous collaboration between students, faculty, families, neighbors, business and community partners and city agencies to improve the food system within the Mission community and promote healthy eating within the school. Under the instruction of Mission High Food and Agriculture Coordinator Rachel Vigil, students in Mission’s new Urban Agriculture CTE (Career Technical Education) Pathway Program receive horticulture, leadership, entrepreneurism and activism training in the areas of food justice, environmental stewardship and sustainability. “This is an exciting opportunity for Mission students to truly see how food gets from seed to many tables,” says Rachel. Through the farming, cooking, marketing and distribution of the produce grown on their land, students are primed to become young leaders in the good food movement.
In just a few short months, the student farmers grew and harvested tender Red Russian Kale, spicy mizuna, fragrant dill and basil, vibrant rainbow chard and fresh herbs. Over the past several weeks, Bi-Rite staff toured the urban farm and youth kitchen, paying the same attention as we would with any new producer. Bi-Rite’s owner, Sam Mogannam, tasted through the fresh vegetables and declared that all of the produce “is in exceptional shape, [has] great flavor and would go head to head with any of our great farmers”.
This week, MY Farm students returned the favor and visited Bi-Rite as first-time vendors, bringing fresh greens and herbs for our produce buyer, Matt and market chef, Wyatt. After learning the proper ways to merchandise produce for a retail setting, they discussed upcoming Bi-Rite dinner items to make their offerings shine (mizuna salad with roasted Warren pears and walnuts, anyone?). Before heading out, students also met with our bookkeeper, John, and learned how to properly create and submit an invoice to get paid in a timely manner. The students will receive market rates for their incredible produce and are happy to join an illustrious group of producers. “The students were beaming about their first delivery; one student told me she felt legit, like a real professional,” says Rachel.
You can help us go hyper-local in the ‘hood and support these amazing student farmers! Check out our daily dinner menu and produce case, exclusively at Bi-Rite 18th Street. Look for the “Mission High School Farm” tag for produce harvested within hours, and fresh, seasonal dishes inspired by the students and created by our chefs. Your support helps MY Farm raise necessary funds to purchase garden equipment and seeds, and install a rain catchment and irrigation system.