“At the end of the day, I love growing. It’s a magical thing that not only holds purpose in its practicality, but also can provide so much joy to communities. Some of the most prosperous communities around the world hold a reverence for good, local food, and their participation in the process of making that happen,” she says. “I want to share that with people so that, one day, my children can live in a world where food is valued more than material things. A world where we value our farmers and teachers.”
Part of sharing that includes her participation in today’s Soil Shindig at Wild Willow Farm & Education Center in the Tijuana River Valley. The event is from 1 to 6 p.m. and features workshops, panels, demonstrations, tours and activities that focus on the importance of soil and how to use it and take care of it.
Peña, 30, lives in San Diego’s Mt. Hope neighborhood with her husband, Roger, and their two cats, Moana and Napali. She took some time to talk about her seed company, her passion for growing food, and the one leafy green vegetable she just doesn’t like.
Q: What does it mean to adapt organic seeds for a specific climate?
A: Adapting seeds to our climate is a two-fold process: First, you must do the research to really understand where the seed came from and if their agronomic traits make sense for our growers. Then, we have to trial it in our gardens. This means taking the time to grow it out completely and see how it reacts to our environment. Many times, we have growers in other microclimates of San Diego (i.e. mountain, coastal, inland) grow out the product, as well. This allows us to know where in San Diego and the American Southwest it will do the best. Once a product has made it through the trialing process, then we can grow it out for seed. This is another growing season of work that must be completed before seeds hit the shelves. It’s a long, arduous process, but worth it in the quality it brings out in our products.
Q: Can you walk us through the process of adapting a seed in this way, to make it compatible with a particular climate?
A: Things that we consistently look for in our search for quality products to grow out for seed are products that have traits our growers want. … We focus on flavor first, and then yield. Once a variety has caught our attention with those two qualities and in that order, then we grow it out for several generations and select for those genetics that prove to be successful in our climate. On our farm, we often put varieties through a stress test where we cut back water to see which plants are capable of growing in these harsher conditions. The ones that don’t get pulled out. This process is called “rouging.” What we are left with is a population of plants with genetics suited to our climate and the very likely drier climate of the future.
Q: Has climate change affected these seeds?
A: Climate change is one of the driving forces behind our work. We can argue all day about why it’s getting hotter, but I think we all can agree it’s getting hotter and drier. We have to have varieties that are adapted for these conditions both on the small farm scale and the commercial agribusiness scale.
What I love about Mt. Hope ...
I love, love, love, the piping hot, fresh chips at Chiquitas Mexican Restaurant down the street from us. The salsa at My Market is so yummy, too!
Q: How did you become interested in farming?
A: The best tomatoes I have ever had come from a family farmer back home in Kansas. It’s food that I love. It’s flavor that I desire. So farming is now what I do.
Q: And you live on your own one-acre farm in the Mount Hope neighborhood? What do you grow there?
A: On our certified organic, urban farm, we produce, trial and breed varieties of vegetable, beneficial flowers and herbs. Some of our favorites for seed production are cilantro, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, amaranth and melons. Over the past two years, we have grown just about everything on our little farm. Currently on the farm you will find rows of San Marzano tomatoes, Kajari melons, spinach, onions, cabbage, sweet potatoes, bok choy, tatsoi, eggplant and more.
Q: Why are promoting urban farming and subsistence important to you?
A: Urban farming is the wave of the future and rural areas are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Additionally, in a city like San Diego where the cost of living is so high, most people need two incomes; because of that, we have to stay close to my husband’s job. So instead of giving up on my dream to farm, I am going to do it right here in the heart of the city. Subsistence growing is important to me because that is the core of how farming started: to feed one’s family. If you grow just to enjoy some delicious home-grown tomatoes, great. If you grow to make money at the farmers market, great. The idea is just to grow. When you have your hand in the dirt, you are more likely to care about the dirt. That is a slippery slope to caring about other things like pollution, climate change and more.
Q: Tell us about this weekend’s Soil Shindig. What can people expect to learn during the San Diego Seed Company session at the Soil Shindig?
A: We are excited to be at the Soil Shindig in more ways than one. We will be hosting a class on seed production, talking about why seed production matters, how farmers can use seed production on their farm as value added products, and more. Additionally, we will be holding a seed swap, so people can bring seeds to share. Lastly, we will be sitting on a panel as we discuss regenerative farming and resilient communities.
Q: Where did your passion for the environment, and seeds and farming specifically, come from?
A: It comes from my love of food, sharing and community. Seeds are the beginning of all those things. We need quality seed for successful farming. I fantasize of a world where everyone can grow some of their food organically and locally. To do that we must protect our environment and create quality local seed.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: Don’t let other people’s perception of normal be your normal. The only people to make big changes in the world did them through stepping outside their comfort zone.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?
A: I don’t like arugula. I want to, really bad, but I don’t!
Q: Describe your ideal San Diego weekend.
A: I live the dream now because I get to garden in the morning and then go to the beach in the afternoon. However, I would love to spend more weekends exploring the farms of San Diego County. There is so much to see and eat!
Brijette Peña became taking a category on seeds at San Diego metropolis university some years ago while she were given the idea to begin her San Diego Seed organization, which produces seeds adapted for neighborhood and local Southern California climates. She noticed a want to serve city farmers and small-scale growers, and each of their microclimates. over time, they’ve advanced into instructing the encircling community on locally tailored seeds.
“at the quit of the day, i really like developing. It’s a mystical issue that now not best holds cause in its practicality, however also can offer so much joy to communities. some of the most rich groups round the world keep a reverence for true, local meals, and their participation inside the technique of making that show up,” she says. “I need to share that with people in order that, in the future, my children can live in a international where food is valued extra than material things. A international in which we fee our farmers and instructors.”
part of sharing that includes her participation in nowadays’s Soil Shindig at Wild Willow Farm & schooling center within the Tijuana River Valley. The event is from 1 to six p.m. and features workshops, panels, demonstrations, excursions and sports that focus on the importance of soil and how to use it and take care of it.
Peña, 30, lives in San Diego’s Mt. wish community together with her husband, Roger, and their two cats, Moana and Napali. She took some time to talk about her seed organisation, her passion for growing meals, and the only leafy inexperienced vegetable she just doesn’t like.
Q: What does it mean to adapt organic seeds for a particular weather?
A: Adapting seeds to our weather is a two-fold technique: First, you must do the research to in reality recognize in which the seed came from and if their agronomic trends make sense for our growers. Then, we need to trial it in our gardens. this indicates taking the time to grow it out absolutely and notice the way it reacts to our surroundings. commonly, we've growers in different microclimates of San Diego (i.e. mountain, coastal, inland) grow out the product, as well. This permits us to realize where in San Diego and the american Southwest it will do the first-class. as soon as a product has made it via the trialing process, then we are able to grow it out for seed. this is every other growing season of labor that should be finished earlier than seeds hit the shelves. It’s a protracted, exhausting method, however worth it within the best it brings out in our merchandise.
Q: can you stroll us through the manner of adapting a seed in this manner, to make it compatible with a specific weather?
A: things that we constantly look for in our look for quality merchandise to develop out for seed are merchandise which have traits our growers want. … We consciousness on taste first, and then yield. as soon as a diffusion has caught our attention with those features and in that order, then we develop it out for numerous generations and pick for those genetics that prove to achieve success in our weather. On our farm, we often put varieties via a pressure take a look at wherein we reduce lower back water to peer which flowers are able to developing in those harsher situations. the ones that don’t get pulled out. This technique is called “rouging.” What we're left with is a population of flowers with genetics desirable to our climate and the very possibly drier climate of the destiny.
Q: Has weather trade affected those seeds?
A: climate alternate is one of the using forces at the back of our paintings. we will argue all day about why it’s getting hotter, however I think all of us can agree it’s getting hotter and drier. We should have types that are tailored for those conditions each on the small farm scale and the industrial agribusiness scale.
What i love about Mt. wish ...
i really like, love, love, the piping warm, clean chips at Chiquitas Mexican restaurant down the street from us. The salsa at My market is so yummy, too!
Q: How did you turn out to be interested by farming?
A: The fine tomatoes i have ever had come from a family farmer back home in Kansas. It’s meals that i love. It’s flavor that I desire. So farming is now what I do.
Q: and also you stay to your very own one-acre farm inside the Mount hope community? What do you grow there?
A: On our certified natural, city farm, we produce, trial and breed types of vegetable, beneficial vegetation and herbs. a number of our favorites for seed manufacturing are cilantro, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, amaranth and melons. during the last two years, we've got grown pretty much the whole lot on our little farm. presently at the farm you will discover rows of San Marzano tomatoes, Kajari melons, spinach, onions, cabbage, candy potatoes, bok choy, tatsoi, eggplant and greater.
Q: Why are selling city farming and subsistence critical to you?
A: city farming is the wave of the future and rural areas are slowly turning into a aspect of the past. moreover, in a city like San Diego where the value of living is so high, the majority need two incomes; due to that, we need to live close to my husband’s process. So in preference to giving up on my dream to farm, i am going to do it proper right here inside the heart of the metropolis. Subsistence developing is important to me due to the fact this is the center of how farming started: to feed one’s own family. if you develop simply to experience some scrumptious domestic-grown tomatoes, awesome. if you grow to make cash on the farmers marketplace, fantastic. The idea is simply to grow. if you have your hand within the dust, you're much more likely to care about the dirt. that is a slippery slope to being concerned approximately different such things as pollution, weather trade and more.
Q: tell us about this weekend’s Soil Shindig. What can humans anticipate to examine for the duration of the San Diego Seed organisation consultation on the Soil Shindig?
A: we are excited to be on the Soil Shindig in more methods than one. we are able to be website hosting a class on seed manufacturing, speakme approximately why seed production subjects, how farmers can use seed production on their farm as fee introduced products, and extra. moreover, we are able to be maintaining a seed switch, so humans can deliver seeds to percentage. ultimately, we can be sitting on a panel as we discuss regenerative farming and resilient groups.
Q: in which did your ardour for the environment, and seeds and farming particularly, come from?
A: It comes from my love of meals, sharing and network. Seeds are the start of all those matters. We want first-rate seed for a hit farming. I fantasize of a world in which each person can develop a number of their food organically and regionally. To do that we have to guard our surroundings and create nice local seed.
Q: what's the fine recommendation you’ve ever received?
A: Don’t allow different human beings’s perception of everyday be your regular. The handiest human beings to make massive adjustments in the international did them via stepping outdoor their comfort region.
Q: what is one factor people might be amazed to discover approximately you?
A: I don’t like arugula. I want to, truely terrible, but I don’t!
Q: Describe your best San Diego weekend.
A: I stay the dream now because i am getting to lawn within the morning after which visit the seashore inside the afternoon. but, I would really like to spend greater weekends exploring the farms of San Diego County. there may be a lot to look and eat!