'We are true farmers'

Remember I told you about the Shasta Independent Living Program, designed to help foster kids adjust to living on their own? This spring they're finding out what it is to contend with Mother Nature.

Here's this from their coordinator, Lisa Goza:
We have a giant issue with deer who have discovered our garden. The deer have destroyed 2 plantings of tomatoes and some of our strawberries. The youth are feeling the frustration of being farmers in several ways.

I think some youth, who loved deer, now have different ideas about the fate of the deer in our garden. The deer know the garden is there and can’t wait to come back and see what we have replanted for their next dinner (and invite some more deer friends for the feast).

Having lived in the mountains most of my life, the only true solution for deer is a big fence. However, the big fence comes at a big price for our budget. Scott looked at what we have for fencing and feels that it will take almost another $500 to fence and gate the garden (high enough to keep out the deer). I am dedicated to finding a way to get this done in the next week to save the garden for the kids (who are truly frustrated).

The youth also lost their peppers to our last frost. We will have to replant those too.

After talking to the staff and youth we have come to the conclusion that we need to make some changes for the year as far as the direction we are headed. Due to the economy, we are watching more aftercare youth come in for services. We all feel that this may only get worse over the summer.

It was decided that we will not sell at the Farmer’s Market this year and will focus on feeding our aftercare youth and THP youth with fresh vegetables. If funding looks better (this summer) we will try and get a chicken coop up so the youth also have fresh eggs. The extra vegetables (if we have any) will be donated to People of Progress this year. POP provides other food staples to our youth when they are in need. By donating our vegetables to them we are completing a circle of helping each other.

Our goal was to sell at the Farmer’s Market this year and make the garden self sufficient. We will try for next year.

We now know that we are true farmers. The youth are forging on despite the hardships.


  1. That is to bad about their hardships. There has to be someone out there with some old fencing lying around that could be is a lot of work though but the cost would be next to nothing if word could get out about their need. I imagine there are farmers in the valley here who would love to contribute towards the education of young people about the agricutlure industry.

    It sounds like a small bad it could not sustain both food for the group and enough to sale at the Farmer's Market too.

    Thanks for sharing...I will pass it on for whatever it is worth in hopes of someone hearing about their needs who can help. Maybe they could plant some pink Hollyhocks for next year :-D

  2. Thanks, Duane. I too think there must be help available that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg. If anyone can help, contact Ms. Goza at