On a Saturday in late October, Carolyn Phinney is hip-deep in a half-acre of vegetables, at the nucleus of what will one day be 15 acres of productive farmland. “You can’t even see the pathways,” she says, surrounded by the literal fruits of her labors. The patch is a wealth of herbs, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, kale, winter squash, and zucchini. So much zucchini—fruits the size of bowling pins hidden under leaves as big as umbrellas. “Zucchini plants are supposed to be 30 inches across. Ours are 8 feet,” she says. “Everything looks like it’s on steroids.” Phinney is the farmer behind CoCo San Sustainable Farm of Martinez, California, a farm built on reclaimed land, using reclaimed water, and started with a simple mission: to get kids to eat more vegetables. In 2010, Phinney learned local school districts served pizza more often than salad because produce cost four times more than cheese and bread. She set out to make vegetables in her county more affordable—or free, if possible. The effort has paid off. Since May of this year, Phinney has grown and donated more than 25,000 pounds of produce to local food banks and school districts. All of it from […]

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