Building community support for the Agrihood

By Alrie Middlebrook

Community members, leaders, developers, CNGF team members and those interested in urban greenspace came together for a panel discussion on the proposed Agrihood development Nov. 3.

Around 30 community members attended the panel talk about the future of the property in the Valley Fair neighborhood.

The information that each panelist gave was extremely helpful about the history, the economics and the process to get the where we are today and ideas about lies ahead.

Panelists included Vince Cantore of developer Core Companies, Santa Clara Vice Mayor Teresa O’Neill, Open Space Authority board chair Dorsey Moore, SJSU social justice professor Dr. Bill Armaline, and myself, representing CNGF.

Dorsay spoke about potential support for the Agrihood project from Open Space Authority. Dr. Armaline spoke about the housing crisis.

I spoke about the four top universities, SJSU, SCU, UCSC and Stanford collaborating on research and data collections with local NGO’s and government and business interests to create SULRI, the sustainable urban land-use research institute.

Potentially, SULRI could have an office and lab at the gardens. College interns could collect data and work at the farm. Many remained after the session and discussed ideas for collaborations of possible research projects.

CNGF has been working with a broad scope of organizations and individuals in preparation of this panel discussion, such as Bill Mains, director of sustainability at the Leavey School of Business.

Also on the team was Kathrine Rondthaler, director of the Forge Garden and our CNGF team, Deeksha Chopra and Ryan Moore. Vanessa Caustrita, our intern from SCU, also worked closely with Bill to get the word out to SCU and our community.

Our next meeting is scheduled during the first two weeks of December. This meeting will include invited consultants from many disciplines necessary for building a regenerative farm model. We will announce the date soon.

Many thanks to all who continue to support the Agrihood project!

To read about the panel in the news visit The Santa Clara Weekly for an article by Maria Judnick. 

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