Local food network growing by leaps and bounds

Will Kreznick

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – A local non-profit is encouraging people to shop local and grow their own food. Action News Now spoke to leaders about why this is important, especially during the pandemic.  “On a personal level it means a lot,” said Chico homeowner Toni Zenella. “I lost my job because […]

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. A local non-profit is encouraging people to shop local and grow their own food. Action News Now spoke to leaders about why this is important, especially during the pandemic. 

“On a personal level it means a lot,” said Chico homeowner Toni Zenella. “I lost my job because of the pandemic. I was in corporate travel for decades and that went away, so now this is my being,” she added. 

Zanella grew up in a historic home in Chico on Laburnum. She said she wanted to use her backyard more efficiently. She wanted to create a community garden, but didn’t know how. That is when she said spoke with the Director of the Butte County Local Food Network – Pamm Larry. Larry said she knew a local farmer who was looking for land to farm.

“This is what happened,” Zanella explained. “It has snowballed into this learning center and demonstration and education garden.” 

The garden is now called the Vecino Victory Garden. Pamm Larry says Butte County Local Food Network is a non-profit whose goal is to create a strong local food system.

“All the way from seed distribution in tiny libraries, to growing food here. We have a blitz going on right now where people can sign up to get a small garden in their yards,” explained Larry. 

Larry stressed that this is extremely important work right now, during the pandemic.

“Supply chains are being disrupted right now,” she said. “Countries are closing or slowing down their exports. We are not,” Larry explained. 

Larry says from her research she understands that prices will go up. That is why she believes it is even more vital than ever to keep food local.

“In Magalia and Concow farmers are participating in events by bringing their vendor booths. Also, other community people are coming out with things to sell, which is all helping to support the local economy,” said Larry.

Larry says they have received various grants. One was from the North Community Foundation to help Camp Fire survivors. She said the next area they are focusing on is Oroville, so they will try and get money from somewhere else to help locals there. 

Larry says her local food network organization is going to put a plastic greenhouse in one of their gardens with money from a recent grant.

“We hope to be selling plants next year as a fundraiser,” she said.  

“See those two octagonal places?  That will be the kids sensory garden. These are all fruit trees,” she explained. “It is hard to tell because it is Winter, she laughed.

“This is an example of an urban farm,” said Larry, who has been trying to encourage people to plan their own gardens whether they are big or small. 

Both leaders say the Vecino Victory Garden is open to the public but said you do need to contact them to arrange visits.

To do that and learn more about the organization you can click HERE

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