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(Palo Alto, Calif.) – Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) announced today that it will remove two dilapidated buildings and a small shed on the Blue House Farm property in San Gregorio. The structures will be recycled and replaced with new farm labor housing. The work will be conducted in conjunction with San Mateo County as part of its Farm Labor Housing Pilot Program and is currently in the permitting phase.
Blue House Farm is located on 74 acres of POST-owned property and is leased to organic farmer Ryan Casey, in a five-year agreement. The structures slated for demolishment include a decrepit farmhouse, mobile home and shed located within the three-acre farm center. The buildings will be replaced by two new mobile homes to provide housing for farm workers. Eventually, the project will expand to allow two additional mobile homes and three greenhouses.
POST leased the protected land to Blue House Farm in August of 2016 in part because of Casey’s deep commitment to keeping rich soils productive and creating a thriving sustainable local food system. Currently, Casey grows more than 50 organic crops including heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, peppers and leafy greens. However, high prices on the coast make it challenging for his workforce to find affordable housing.
San Mateo County’s Farm Labor Housing Pilot Program provides no interest loans to support agricultural operators’ investment in housing for their low-income workforce. Says San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley, “We are pleased to support POST and Blue House Farm in their combined effort to provide housing for Blue House Farm’s workers. This is an exciting partnership and begins to address the huge need for housing for the agricultural workforce.”
The local San Mateo County Farm Bureau also supports these investments. President BJ Burns said, “The San Mateo County Farm Bureau is very supportive of preserving agricultural land while also providing the necessary infrastructure on those lands for farming operations. We commend POST for their commitment to providing farmworker housing and other necessary structures on a small footprint within this property to ensure the grower has the tools needed to run a successful business.”
The timing of the project is dependent upon the permitting process and weather, however, POST hopes to begin the demolition this spring. In keeping with its mission, POST plans to recycle as many of the materials from the structures as possible.
POST is a leading private, nonprofit land trust that protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,500 acres as permanent open space and parkland in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. www.openspacetrust.org
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.