Member Highlights: Ecology Artisans- San Diego’s First Public Food Forest

Ecology Artisans is proud to announce the completion of their water harvesting earthworks project at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas. Ecology Artisans was contracted by the Leichtag Foundation and Coastal Roots to pioneer the installation of San Diego County’s first public food forest.

For those of you who are not familiar with our company, Ecology Artisans is an ecological landscape and farmland design and development firm.  Now what does that mean? We work with homeowners, farmers, real estate developers, governments, and many other stakeholders to create regenerative living and built systems for their homes and farms.

We have been installing drought tolerant landscapes for homeowners throughout San Diego for the past two years. We have also been working with farmers and homesteaders to drought proof their lands and install resilient food production systems. We were very excited to partner with the Coastal Roots farming team to help kick start their public food forest project.

Coastal Roots Farm is a non-profit community farm that is being incubated by the Leichtag Foundation. The Leichtag Foundation Commons is a farm located on 441 Saxony Rd. in Encinitas, CA. Together, the Leichtag Foundation and Coastal Roots Farm are developing an amazing community farming project that is going to be a world class model for sustainable community development for generations to come.

Coastal Roots mission is to nourish connections—to ourselves, our neighbors, and the land. Inspired by Jewish wisdom and centuries-old agricultural traditions, Coastal Roots practices sustainable farming and shares their harvests with communities that lack access to healthy food. Their goal is to become a model for community farming and creative Jewish expression, both at home in Encinitas, California, and around the world.

The farm team hired Ecology Artisans to design and install the earthworks pattern for their future agroforestry/food forest project. At Ecology Artisans, we like to say that water management earthworks provide the whole pattern for the farm.

What are water harvesting earthworks you might ask? Water harvesting earthworks come in many different forms. There are swales, irrigation channels, water conversations channels, infiltration basins, dams, and many more forms of structures to harvest water directly in the soil. In the simplest description, earthworks are structures in the soils that are meant to alter the water pattern to achieve certain goals of moving water to a specific site (usually a drier site) or allowing it to remain on site (i.e. a dam).

Farming in a Mediterranean climate can be tough. With seasonal rains in the winter and long dry summers, farmers needs to capture as much rain as possible on their land during the dry spells. The goal with any water harvesting project are to slow the water down, spread it out, and sink it down in the soil profile. The act of slowing it down, spreading it out, and sinking it into the ground will dramatically improve the water budget for the whole site by increasing height of the water table.

Above is an aerial photo of the earthworks that we installed courtesy of the Josh Sherman of the Coastal Roots Farm communications team.