Seeds@City Press

City College Recognized as a Live Well College

November 14, 2014
Seeds@City Urban Farm is proud to be a member of the San Diego City College Live Well committee, which recently announced that City College was recognized as a Live Well College. Read the press release HERE. "Live Well San Diego is the county’s ten-year plan for achieving safe, healthy, and thriving communities. Since 2010, the county has enlisted 12 community partners that have shown a commitment to promoting healthy living. Of these, City College is the region’s first college/university." A wonderful video is also available via the San Diego County News Center.

Seeds@City Urban Farm Featured in SHow "Chuck's Eat the Street"

October 2013

Seeds@City was featured in a Cooking Chanel show called "Chuck's Eat the Street." The episode, "Simply Delicious San Diego," aired Friday, October 25th and featured Montreal-based chef Chuck Hughes visiting various establishments along 30th Street in North Park and harvesting fresh produce at our farm! The produce was harvested by Chuck and Chef Ricardo Heredia from Alchemy restaurant, a long-time supporter of the farm. To read more, check out this article:


March 20, 2013

Edible San Diego Magazine featured our own urban farmer, Jenny Goff, in their recent publication. In an article titled "Are We There Yet?" Jenny and leading figures from our community express their hopes for our movement.
Look for edition number 20 to read more about it! You can view their current digital edition here.

KUSI interview with Seeds@City urban farmer DAmian Valdez & Alchemy's Ron Troyano

March 14, 2013

Our own urban farmer, Damian Valdez, was part of the KUSI interview featuring our Alchemy Cultural Fare friend and partner, Ron Troyano.

UT San Diego article: Your 2013 college Meal Plan

December 12, 2012

Seeds@City's produce is cooked up for Alchemy's vegetarian, three course tasting menu! Read the article here.

seeds @ city partnership with Alchemy mentioned in us airway magazine

October, 2012
Seeds@City gains exposure in the skies! Read the article here.

SD Reader article about VEGAN Cuisine and Sea Rocket

June 7, 2012

The farm is mentioned as a recipient of the fundraiser. Read the Article here.

The SEED Center FEatures OUR AGRI program on their Website

May 9, 2012
The American Association of Community College's Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) initiative is featuring our sustainable urban agriculture program in their "College's in Action: Story Snapshots". These Story Snapshots offer glimpses of schools that have developed actionable programs and curriculum to help students take advantage of green collar opportunities. Thank you SEED Center!

CityBEAt mentions Seeds@City

May 2, 2012
Homesteading how-to mentions Seeds@City as recipient of slow food urban san diego's fermentation workshop fundraiser

CityBeat mentions Seeds@City's farm dinner at Sea Rocket Bistro

Monday, Apr 02, 2012
Nibbles| food & drink column

Urban Farm online article, Urban-Farming apprentices features Seeds@City Apprentice Aundrea Dominguez

February 3, 2012
Read the article here.

Faculty Member featured in KPBS film about urban beekeeping

After the new year, San Diego City Council will vote on whether or not to loosen restrictions for urban farming. In this short film, Paul Maschka discusses the benefits of backyard beekeeping.

Seeds@City is featured in this winter's Issue of Edible San Diego

December 2011

Click Here to read the article

growth of organic sustainable Agriculture programs

Read the AP article here. lists organic food farmer as one of 10 jobs of the future

September 2011
Read the article here.


August 2011

Seeds @ City was featured on page four of O.B. People's Co-op's August Newsletter. Seeds was also selected as a one of their current cash register donation box charities. Read the write-up here.

Seeds @ City sustainable urban AGRIculture Faculty, Paul Maschka, featured by Kashi's 'Grains of Change' film series

Filmed in collaboration with the Sundance Channel,  ‘Grains of Change' showcases community leaders, such as Paul Maschka, who are working to make their vision for natural living a reality and inspiring positive change in their communities. View Paul's video here.

Union tribune: City Folk Getting Taste for farming

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Seeds at CIty, and friend/collaborator David Krimmel were mentioned in this UT article by Peter Rowe. Check it out!

city times: Urban garden grows fresh veggies

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Union Tribune: feature by Ray M. wong

Thursday, April 16, 2009
DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO — Walk up the steps from parking lot 8 at the corner of 14th and C streets to San Diego City College and you'll find an organic farm nestled between the campus Learning Resource Center and the Saville Theatre. The water-guzzling lawn that once covered a vast expanse of the college's landscape is now occupied by a lush garden featuring a variety of organically grown plants, fruit trees and vegetables such as chicory greens, Swiss chard, ruby mustards and bok choy.

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning, students from City College and surrounding high schools work alongside professional organic farmers and volunteers to learn how to tend a garden without the use of pesticides and other environmentally harmful chemicals.

Produce is sold at the campus farmers market every Tuesday morning to raise funds for seeds, tools and other supplies to work the land. Eventually, the money will go toward paid internships.

Why organic?

Paul Maschka, an organic farmer at the college, previously worked at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park for 17 years and was the lead organic horticulturist responsible for helping the zoo go from conventional to organic gardening.

He says pesticides and chemical fertilizers harm the environment. “Most of these chemicals don't stay where we put them,” Maschka said.

Instead, they leach into the soil and contaminate groundwater supplies. They also flow into gutters and storm drains before being deposited into the ocean and bays.

Maschka sees the soil as a living system where microorganisms nourish plants in a natural, healthy and sustainable cycle.

Maschka has been growing organic vegetables at City College since June 2008, and his vision is to develop an urban food forest that can supply community restaurants with fresh, organic produce.

He also sees the school's organic farm as having another purpose. “Our main goal here is not to grow food but to grow urban farmers that can go out and contribute to the greening of San Diego County,” he said.

Julia Dashe has partnered with Maschka at the school's farm since it began. She earned a certificate of ecological horticulture from the University of California Santa Cruz. She has been working on gardens and farms across the country for 10 years, including a garden at Morse High School that teaches teens there how to grow organic food.

“For me, growing food is that perfect place where you bring together people and the earth. It's the most important thing we can be thinking about – making sure that people have access to healthy, sustainable food,” Dashe said.

Kim Lopez is a City College student and a former farming intern at the school. She's studying food and nutrition and hopes to eventually take what she learns to help children in other parts of the world.

“It's very humbling,” Lopez said of her experience. “You have to slow down and consider the life that exists in the soil. It puts you in tune with the vegetation around you. It forces you in a good way to pay attention to what the earth, what the soil is saying.”

She volunteers at the farm on a regular basis and sees it as exciting and rewarding. “It's hard to stay away from this place,” Lopez said. “There's something new in every corner. In one day you can find so many new leaves or plants or insects, colors or color variations of green, when the flowers burst with color – it's like a playground!”

Originally funded by the City College Foundation – a nonprofit that supports student scholarships and cultural enrichment activities on campus, the farm is the brainchild of City College instructor Karon Klipple.

“It's one of the most productive and efficient ways to grow food,” Klipple said. “Since we're in the middle of a drought and we're being asked to conserve, I think one of the best things people can do is to take out their water-intensive lawns and replace them with edible landscaping.”

Ray M. Wong is a freelance writer living in El Cajon.

SDNN: san diego's urban farmers

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Seeds at City featured in this San Diego News Network article on urban farmers, by Erin Glass.

city times: Urban farm's latest offshoot: a campus farmers market

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The new Seeds at City farmers market is featured in a City Times article by Nate Hipple.

the beacon: breathing life into the soil

Thursday, January 29, 2009

By Jan D. Wellik
One of the great “green” minds behind organic farming and college gardens in San Diego is Paul Maschka, a longtime resident of Ocean Beach.

Maschka’s hands-on ability to grow healthy soil plays a crucial role in the development of the San Diego City College Urban Farm this last summer, as well as Mesa College’s new Organic Culinary Garden.

His areas of expertise include biointensive gardening, sustainable landscaping, beekeeping and permaculture, which he will be teaching about in the next few months for the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Maschka was excited about working on the City College farm because funding was built into the program.

“I’ve been working on school gardens for years, but without funding they slowly fade,” he said.

The college pays for part-time farm helpers and student interns who manage the farm.

The college garden is located in a high-traffic zone on campus where lush rose bushes once grew.

“Jaws drop,” he said. “This is a farm in the middle of skyscrapers.”

By transforming the heavily watered rose bush landscape, the school now uses less than an eighth of the water it used before, he said.

The farm is not a monoculture crop of rows of corn, like many think of when they hear the word “farm.” Rather, the farm is an example of polyculture with meandering pathways of different shapes and sizes of plant beds growing both edible and ornate plants. The large patch of amaranth, in its bold swath of purplish red, is often the big color draw of passersby.

“I wanted to have them (students and faculty) walk by and stop them in their tracks,” he said of the farm design. The creative design has been a success, and yields a bounty of vegetables each season. Currently growing are: broccoli, Asian greens, rutabagas, baby greens and “a tapestry of colors and textures,” according to Maschka.

Luckily, Southern California has basically two seasons — warm and cool— so harvesting produce is possible year-round, he said. In the summer, the farm grows much of the standard fare, including tomatoes, squash, corn and cucumbers.

During the school year, the college recently started a weekly farmers market on campus that sells the farm’s produce to mostly faculty and students, with long lines forming for the fresh, organic produce.

Maschka is passionate about healthy soil and growing organically. He is a prominent member of the San Diego Food Not Lawns organization and president of the Mycological Society (study of mushrooms).

“We’re not told how our food is produced, and if most people knew how our food is factory farmed, they would be horrified,” he said.

He works to educate students and adults about the need to grow food organically rather than use the high levels of petroleum-based fertilizers used in conventional agriculture.

As a San Diego native who grew up in Escondido, Maschka was raised on his family’s farm in an area that was once rural and full of dairy farms. Not anymore, he said.

“They have slowly disappeared by strip malls,” he said.

Although he grew up gardening with his parents, he hated it, he said, until later in life. Now he can’t get enough of digging in the soil, planting and enjoying the seeds of his labor.

After owning a landscaping business for 15 years that he turned organic and working in horticulture at the Wild Animal Park and San Diego Zoo, he learned that he enjoyed educating people about alternative methods.

He teaches about organic being good for more than food — even flowers. Synthetic fertilizers made of petroleum kill the soil, which, in turn, pollutes the watershed and our ocean, he says.

“We’re stuck on a huge treadmill. We’re so addicted to the use of petroleum products,” he said.

He said he is taking a stand against this vicious cycle and wants to show people how to help their environment through healthy agriculture instead of hurting it.

“We need to breathe life back into the soil,” he said.

Union Tribune: Donated Fruit Trees Take root

Saturday, December 20, 2008
By Jennifer Vigil
When San Diego City College established the Seeds at City urban farm six months ago, no one expected to have a full-blown orchard. Not so soon.
“It wouldn't have been in the budget,” said Paul Maschka, a former gardener for the San Diego Zoo who works at the farm.

That changed this week, when a San Diego foundation donated nearly 100 trees and other plants to the downtown college and two schools, Crawford High near Rolando and Pacific Beach Middle.

“It's totally engaging,” said Jennifer Sims, coordinator of Pacific Beach Middle's International Baccalaureate program. “You can sit in a classroom and read about life science, but getting out and actually having the chance to get your hands dirty, that's invaluable.”

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation made the donation with Stretch Island Fruit Co., an Allyn, Wash., firm that produces healthful fruit snacks.

The program, called Fruit Tree 101, includes campus consultations with an arborist and nutritionist.

Supplying the trees fulfills several goals, from luring students outdoors and improving the environment to teaching them to grow their own food and bolster their nutrition, said Cem Akin, the foundation's executive director.

“Orchards provide all those opportunities,” he said.

In the past year, the six-year-old San Diego-based foundation has offered trees to 30 schools in cities across the country, including Phoenix, Chicago, Baltimore and New York. It also has programs in Kenya and India, with plans to expand to Brazil and Costa Rica.

The group's reach impressed Geno Cesena III, 14, one of the Pacific Beach students responsible for maintaining the middle school's new orchard. Until this month, his only experience tending the soil had come on his grandfather's Jamul ranch, where he has planted corn.

Yet Geno was a veteran compared with many of the other 25 students who will help care for the orchard, made up of apple, fig and pomegranate trees. Some of the youngsters had no idea that figs come from trees, Sims said.

Maschka hopes the City College orchard helps urbanities, young and old, become more familiar with fruit trees.

“The main thing people don't know is how to get trees off to a proper start,” Maschka said.

For instance, though the saplings the college received can bear fruit, it's better to keep them pruned back, he said, because the branches aren't strong enough yet.

As a result, it will be a couple of years before students will be able enjoy fruit from the campus farm, which takes up about a third of an acre near C and 14th streets.

Though Geno will miss out on treats from the trees, the eighth-grader has embraced his new responsibilities, which will include watering the orchard two to three times a week.

“The trees look pretty small, but I think that in a couple of months, they'll start looking better,” he said.

sd business journal: Future farmers learn to grow organically at seeds at city

Monday, November 17, 2008
by Connie Lewis
One-third of an acre planted with corn, squash, green beans, broccoli, pumpkins and sunflowers where grass once grew at San Diego City College is an urban farm project that could revolutionize residential landscaping throughout the county, says Karon Klipple, an assistant math professor.

The miniature Seeds at City farm that took root this year and is part of an internship program is the brainchild of Klipple, who also co-chairs the college’s Environmental Stewardship Committee.

Touting the ecological advantages of the urban farm over the traditional lawn, Klipple says the farm uses a third as much water and none of the chemical fertilizers.

“We’re teaching students and community volunteers how to do it,” she said. “There’s a growing demand and people are changing their landscapes to this, which is a real-life answer to a diminishing water supply.”

At present, there are four interns enrolled who each earn a stipend for working four hours a day, three days a week for eight weeks at the Seeds at City farm. But plans are to increase enrollment to 10 students and there is no lack of volunteers interested in the sustainable, organic farming techniques practiced there, says Paul Maschka, an organic farming expert hired to run the program.

“We encountered some young people for whom urban farming is new and foreign and out of their comfort zone,” Maschka said. “Others know a little about it and some know a lot, which blew us away.

“We didn’t expect a sector of young people would be already enlightened, and that’s refreshing.”

Surrounded By Skyscrapers

Located in a highly visible area at the east end of downtown between the college’s Learning Resources Building and a campus theater, the urban farm draws a great deal of attention.

“We purposely designed and planted it in a spot where people walking by couldn’t miss it,” Maschka said. “It’s in your face — a farm in the midst of skyscrapers — and people stop and take notice.”

Maschka, who worked for the San Diego Zoological Society’s Horticulture Department specializing in organic practices, calls himself an urban farmer. He shares responsibility for the urban farm and instruction of the interns with Julia Dashe.

Urban farming is also a way for people to grow their own produce in an era of increased food prices, says Klipple.

Several other lawns on the campus have already been designated as future vegetable plots, Klipple said, adding that the administration is very supportive and anxious to be able to increase water conservation.

While the intent is to practice organic growing methods at Seeds at City, Maschka doubts it could qualify for certification because of its urban setting.

Conveniently, food waste from the college’s cafeteria is used in a composting operation that provides nutrients for the soil.

Coming full circle, plans are to use crops from an expanded farming operation in the college’s cafeteria. Future goals also include setting up a farmers market and selling the produce to local restaurants, and then the profits would be plowed back into the program to hire more interns and possibly some full-time workers.

Natural Insect Control

Varieties of vegetables will be rotated according to the season while perennials will also be planted. However, the diverse plants were selected in accordance with the different types of insects they draw, thus creating the overall effect of a pesticide since the various insects prey on each other, Maschka explained.

The urban farm has two slopes on either side that will soon be planted with dwarf fruit trees, including peach, plum, apricot, cherry and a variety of apple trees. The dwarf trees are more practical than full-sized ones because they don’t require as much water, they produce as much fruit as big trees and are safer since they don’t require people to climb up on ladders to pick the fruit, Maschka said, adding that other lawns around campus have been approved for expanding the urban farm.

“We’ll be planting everything but chocolate,” he said. “The climate we have in Southern California a short way from the ocean is conducive to growing just about anything on the planet.”

News Scene: sd city urban farm

Friday, November 14, 2008
Television news report by Paul Kruze. Watch it here.