What started as a simple idea has grown into a flourishing community farm that builds strong relationships
On Apr. 18, the Templeton Hills Community Farm will be celebrating their one-year anniversary!
You would never know it was there from the street, but between the Templeton Hills Seventh-Day Adventist Church and school sits a little farm on what used to be a soccer field.
What started as a way to produce healthy and affordable vegetables for their community has grown into a place where people can learn how to grow and harvest their food while building memories and strong relationships.
In 2019, church members wanted a place where people could gather, a community center or maybe a garden, they thought. Matt Giese, the part-time groundskeeper for the school and church, suggested, why not build a farm?
With the help of a grant from the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, the farm started with one hoop house, a small greenhouse, and some outdoor row crops.
In 2020 the farm was ready to open to the public, just a month before the pandemic shutdowns.
But amid pandemic lockdowns and woes, the Templeton Hills Farm became a place of peace for many people.
Steve Mulder, a regular at the farm (and avid lover of microgreens), said, “God has blessed this place–this is not here to make money, this is not a commercial operation. This is a community operation.”
Giese, who now manages the farm, happened to have a passion for gardening already. For the past ten years, he, his wife, and children have loved gardening together as a family hobby.
“We love being outside and harvesting, getting your hands dirty. It’s an awesome experience for kids, for the family,” said Giese.
For Giese, growing their food was one thing, but introducing his children to life’s hard work and seeing their rewards come harvest time was something quite special.
Growing one’s food is a lost art that did seem to develop some traction during 2020 lockdowns. Giese hopes to inspire his children and others to get involved with farming and reignite the age-old trend.
“I want to get kids and people, the younger generation inspired in farming,” said Giese.
Since the farm opened to the public, it has gained another hoop house, and more plans are in the works for expansion. A washing system for produce and a storage container for root vegetables like potatoes and garlic is something the farm is looking forward to.
There are even plans to begin hosting classes at the farm. Giese and his wife hope to plan cooking and gardening classes at the farm, but the possibilities are endless.
Mulder says their goal now has become to “Expand the footprint and the impact on the community. We want to keep broadening the impact.”
Improvements and growth of the farm wouldn’t be possible without the outpouring of support it has received from the community and local businesses.
Bay Laurel Garden Center donated 60 fruit trees to the farm, and another community member donated a beehive.
Glenn’s Repair and Rental in Atascadero is also a big supporter of the farm along with Orchard and Vineyard Supply Paso Robles, Holloway Gypsum in Lost Hills, and many others.
Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., people come to the farm to volunteer their time. Throughout the week, Giese manages the farm and creates a list of chores to be done on Sunday.
After produce has been harvested, volunteers get to take home their portion of goods. Sometimes extra items like grapefruit are donated and added to everyone’s pick up of goods for the week.
On Sundays, volunteers operate the Farm Stand, which sits by the curb of the farm parking lot where bundles of produce are often available for pick up!
The Templeton Hills Community Farm is open to all members of the community. Anyone can offer their time or give a donation in exchange for harvested goods, but no one in need will ever be turned away.
“I’m just impressed by how God has led in the process of this–I’m really grateful to be a part of it for that reason,” said Mulder.
Join the fun at the farm and contact Matt Giese at (805)458-7808 or email at email@example.com or swing by on Sunday!
The farm is located at 930 Templeton Hills Road in Templeton above the parking lot between the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and school, just look for the Farm Stand!
For more information and to follow everything that is happening at the farm, visit them on social media @grow.give.serve