A Visit to the Centennial Farm in Orange County
It’s astonishing what kind of amazing resources can be found right under your nose if you keep your eyes open. Recently, John and I made a visit to the Centennial Farm project at the Orange County Fair Grounds in Costa Mesa. This place is incredible. It is a working farm in the middle of a metropolitan city. It contains a huge fruit and vegetable growing area and livestock. They grow everything there and go so far as to explain harvest times and the nutritional benefits of each variety of produce. The livestock assortment is also greatly varied. The farm has pigs, chickens, goats, cows, llamas, bulls and oxen. Again, each animal has a sign over its pen explaining gestation times and other pertinent information about each animal.
The Centennial Farm also has impressive vermi-composting displays and even a working aquaponics set up that gave both John and I some very good ideas. In addition, the farm has a huge barn that showcases the production of milk from a dairy cow. Behind the barn is a functional water pump that is powered by a small windmill. Ducks and geese populate the area under the wind mill. I think the major draw for this set up is the pigs. As it is a working farm, the sows are allowed to breed as are the goats. The piglets are a huge draw.
So why a huge farm in the middle of the city. Well, the Centennial Farm is operated to educate school kids about how modern farming is accomplished. It is also a great way for kids (and adults) to learn where their food comes from. It doesn’t come from the grocery store and doesn’t come packaged in a pretty little plastic container. It comes out of the ground or is on four hooves. Visitors to the farm can have a glimpse into the process of food production and realize how much work goes into the farming process. It’s a fantastic educational experience. As a benefit, the farm is completely free to tour. You just show up at the gate and have a walk around. They even have a table that has produce available for visitors to take home. Nice touch. As if this place could not get any cooler, they donate all of the produce and dairy to local food banks. Nice.
For us at Modern Bushman, we see this farm as a great place to get some great ideas and view the realities of homesteading. It also reminds us of how much work goes into putting food on the table. Again, food comes out of the ground and requires a lot of work. Something we all need to be aware of. If things go sideways and the grocery stores are closed or the cost of fresh produce, dairy and meats become prohibitive, it might be a good idea to start planting some veggies and raising a few chickens. You never know. Plus, fresh produce grown and raised with your own two hands tastes a hundred times better than the stuff on the grocery store shelves. You might want to consider treating yourself to some fresh grown tomatoes from your garden someday. The Centennial Farm and educational farms like it are a great place to learn a thing or two about growing and raising. Poke around the internet for local farms in your area and call them up to see if they offer tours. You’ll learn a lot and be inspired.
If you’d like to see more pictures, check out the rest of the photos in the Centennial Farm album here.
Grow on!!!~ Adam, Modern Bushman >