Land will be used as part of Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Zone Initiative
Claremont, Calif. (April 10, 2013)—The Pitzer in Ontario (PIO) program finalized a 10-year agreement on April 5 between Pitzer College and the City of Ontario for use of a three-acre parcel of land located directly west of Ontario’s Bon View Park. The agreement stems in part from Ontario’s Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Zone Initiative that was funded by a $1 million Kaiser Permanente grant.
The land will be used by Huerta del Valle, an emerging organization of Ontario residents who will operate a large-scale community garden and create educational programming, events and an on-site urban production farm. The land will serve as a community gathering space where neighbors can come together to grow food and share urban agricultural techniques. Huerta del Valle and the City of Ontario intend for this project to become a self-sustaining, long-term addition to the neighborhood and a model for other communities.
Pitzer College is partnered with Huerta del Valle, providing administrative and strategic support to the organization. Pitzer in Ontario students and staff have been working alongside community members to develop leadership and build Huerta del Valle’s long-term capacity. PIO students will conduct community-based research at the site, which will provide internship and community engagement opportunities to the larger Pitzer and Claremont Colleges communities.
“This has been a learning process for all of us,” said Susan Phillips, Pitzer in Ontario’s academic director and associate professor of environmental analysis. “It’s been a pleasure to work alongside the City of Ontario’s planning department and local community members to see this garden come to fruition. We also worked closely with students and professors from the Community Economic Development Clinic at University of California, Irvine School of Law, which paved the way for a strong agreement that will protect the garden into the future.”
Pitzer in Ontario is a justice-oriented, interdisciplinary program in urban studies and community-based research. With theoretical foundations in the social sciences and a strong emphasis on experiential education, the program allows students to understand regional impacts of globalization and to engage in local social change efforts. PIO is a full-time academic program.