Fullerton City Council voted 5-0 to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement (ENA) for six months with Renewable Farms (RF), a local non-profit which operates an urban farm in Anaheim to explore options for the use of Union Pacific Park for the operation of a sustainable urban farm and public recreational space at their November 5 meeting.
Union Pacific Park is a 1.7 acre city-owned park located near the downtown area just south of the SOCO District. The park was established in 2003 after the land was purchased from Union Pacific Railroad in 1998. In 2004, the park was partially closed due to soil contamination from prior railroad and industry operations.
In 2012, soil remediation was conducted and completed by the Department of Toxic Substance Control, leaving the park ready for unrestricted uses.
Renewable Farms (RF), which operates a one-acre urban farm in Anaheim, has a two-part organization—on the farm and off the farm. Off the farm, it provides consulting for schools, hospitals and even homeowners on responsible agricultural practices.
On the farm, they educate and mentor school children, provide internship opportunities for college students, job training, educational workshops, event space, special needs programs and considerable amounts of free food for local families. Both on and off the farm, they also provide jobs for vets, those coming out of incarceration, and “anyone who’s hit a rough patch and is willing to try again and get back on their feet.”
The Anaheim farm grows produce through aquaponics, a system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.
The model envisioned for Union Pacific Park is similar to RF, including recreation, education/nternship opportunities, retail, public and private events, public art opportunities, beer and wine festivals and open public space for passive uses.
City staff will return to City Council for consideration of a concept for the park’s proposed use at a future meeting.
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