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Soil Born Farms

Community Partner Spotlight, February 2010

Soil Born Farms Logo - Urban Agriculture and Education Project

Soil Born Farms is a unique non-profit community based organization that, through partnership with Community Engagement Center, provides an exceptional service learning experience for students.

Soil Born Farms started on a simple goal of reconnecting people to the environment and to fresh organic produce. Through dedication and partnership with local agencies and service programs, Soil Born Farms has grown tremendously offering a number of programs and food access to underserved neighborhoods throughout the Sacramento region.

In partnership with Soil Born Farm’s Youth Education Program, Sacramento State students engage in a variety of service learning activities, including implementing nutrition education. Students have mentored youth in planting and gardening fresh organic produce and learned to interact with the environment. Students have also assisted with cooking classes offered at Soil Born Farms that demonstrate how to incorporate fresh produce into everyday cooking.

Denise Wall-Parilo, RN, MSN, an Associate Professor of Nursing at Sacramento State, believes that “One of the best things about partnering with Soil Born Farms is the flexibility and creativity they have shown when working with our students. Sara [Smith-Rubio, Youth Coordinator] has allowed our students to pursue service opportunities in their areas of interest which maximizes student learning as well as enhancing the service students provide to the community. Soil Born Farms is a very welcoming environment and the staff collaborates with our nursing students to find activities that match their very busy class and clinical schedules.”  

Soil Born farms has partnered with various service learning courses at Sacramento State, though Smith-Rubio feels Nursing 139 has been of the strongest groups to work with given the immense degree of support from professor Wall-Parilo and the level of student engagement. Associate Professor Margarita Berta-Avila’s Bilingual/Multicultural Education freshman seminar course, EDBM 21, was one of the newer groups to collaborate with Soil Born Farms this year.

Soil Born Farms Youth Coordinator, Sara Smith-Rubio

Sara Smith-Rubio, Youth Coordinator

Soil Born Farm’s Youth Coordinator, Sara Smith-Rubio, has stated that the presence and engagement of Sacramento State students is very much needed and the impact they have on Soil Born Farms and the youth is huge; she believes that Soil Born Farms could not have expanded to what it is now without the dedication of service learning students. Further, being able to interact with college-level students has brought on a new level of encouragement to disadvantaged youth who are now more hopeful about the thought of going to college and achieving higher education.

Through service learning projects at Soil Born Farms, students gain skills that will be useful in their careers including leadership, mentoring, and community awareness. Soil Born Farms encourages volunteers and service learning students to use their experience at Soil Born Farms as a stepping stone to becoming more active and seeking leadership roles to meet needs in the community.

Youth Coordinator, Sara Smith-Rubio, hopes to continue this successful partnership with Community Engagement Center and identify new departments that could engage in service learning projects at Soil Born Farms.

Contributed by T. Nguyen


Each year, more than two thousand Sacramento State students, faculty, staff, and alumni participate in programs and projects sponsored by Community Engagement Center. Programs such as Alternative Break, AmeriCorps Students in Service, Sac State Serves, and Service Learning fulfill our mission to facilitate learning and engagement by linking campus and community for mutual benefit. Through Spotlight, Community Engagement Center will highlight outstanding individuals and programs advancing community engagement in the Sacramento region.

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last updated: 2/1/2010