Jan 6, 2015
BORREGO ART INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES THE ARTFARM
Urban Farming, more parking for downtown Borrego Springs
The Borrego Art Institute (BAI) announces the launch of its latest creation—The ArtFarm, an expanded art, food, and education campus, including new parking facilities and a creative approach to urban farming in the desert.
Soon locally grown fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers will provide farm-to-fork delight, a novel experience for desert dwellers and visitors. Preliminary plans are complete for a two acre farm directly west of the BAI Gallery along Sunset Drive in the center of town. The entrance will be from a new driveway and parking lot to be built directly behind the Village Liquor/Jilberto’s building.
The ArtFarm allows BAI to extend its mission to encourage and provide instruction in the arts in the Borrego Springs community by including culinary arts, gardening, community sustainability, and research into cutting edge, desert friendly, organic farming practices. The farm will serve as an educational and event venue, and a community cultivation space.
The BAI is seeking help from experienced gardeners and farmers to help with plant selection, agronomy tips and teaching volunteers. Community outreach is already benefitting the project with the enlistment of Bri Fordem, an Anza Borrego Foundation employee, who will help design both the physical farm as well as the ArtFarm Strategic Plan. Fordem holds an MBA in Organization and Environmental Sustainability and two farming certificates in Permaculture and Biodynamic Farming.
“Bri brings a wealth of theoretical and practical knowledge” says Jim Wermers, BAI Board President. “She has helped design and construct numerous urban farms including the gardens at New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego. We are excited with her participation in this newest venture.”
The first phase of ArtFarm includes grading and fencing, building raised planters, and installing wash tables, compost bins and storage facilities. Future plans include greenhouses, fruit trees, flowers and a pavilion for classes and events.
The projects add to the growing vitalization movement in Borrego’s core business district. “The BAI has been an incredible impetus, spurring beautification efforts all through town,” notes Gwenn Marie, President of the Borrego Village Association. “What was once a drab and dreary corner at the heart of town is now beautiful and thriving! Everyone is thrilled with these new developments.”
The ArtFarm will be “green” on many levels. Drip irrigation, composting and desert friendly crops will be featured. Roof top solar, possibly installed on covered parking structures in the new parking area, will provide power to the BAI Gallery, the ArtFarm, and a future pottery studio. Hydroponics and aquaculture are also being studied for their low impact on water usage.
Concurrently, the BAI is constructing improved parking facilities west of the BAI Gallery. Last year, the driveway from Palm Canyon Drive to Sunset was graded, utility poles line the perimeter, and the roadway was surfaced with environmentally sensitive class II base (not asphalt paving).
Grading for the new parking lot is underway. Driveways and parking stalls will be delineated using utility poles, similar to the parking lot at the State Park Visitors Center. Native desert trees will shade spaces. Paving, again using water permeable class II base material, will follow new village standards.
The new parking lot will accommodate up to 50 vehicles and includes employee parking and convenient loading areas for delivery trucks. When the lot is complete, street parking along Palm Canyon Drive should become more plentiful and easy to access, benefitting visitors, residents, and businesses.
Construction of the parking lot and ArtFarm, as well as additional amenities, will occur in phases as funds become available. Over $100,000 has been pledged to date, with immediate needs of an additional $50,000. All donations, large or small, including volunteer construction and farming labor and expertise, are welcome. BAI is a 501c3 charitable organization, so donations are tax deductible.
“We are delighted to be a part of Borrego Springs’ renaissance,” said Barbara Nickerson, Executive Director of the BAI Art Gallery. “We hope that residents and visitors alike will be inspired to join us and take part in expanding the vision!”
To learn more, or to offer your help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.