History of the Farm

How it all started and evolved!… and continues to be sustained!

  • 1974 – Carolyn Libby, a teacher at Loma Vista Elementary School, wrote the first grant to establish a farm on land adjacent to the school. It gave Kindergarteners a chance to work on a farm. Carolyn served as a Farm Teacher until 1982.
  • 1974 – Alice Schardt joined Carolyn in working on the Farm. Alice is an expert in Environmental Education and has worked at the Farm teaching students about gardening and nature for several years.
  • 1976 – Thom Arcadi, VCUSD Special Education Teacher, began to bring Everest students to the Farm to help the students develop job skills.
  • 1977 – The second grant was written (by Carolyn). The emphasis was to have the general education and special education students work together in a greenhouse setting. The grant was accepted and went from 1978-1981. This was the real beginning of mainstreaming for Vallejo schools.
  • 1977 – Rebecca Burke, a new teacher at Loma Vista, began bringing her students to the Farm. Rebecca spent 22 years working as a classroom teacher at Loma Vista, bringing her students to the Farm almost daily, and for several years she worked as a Farm Teacher directly on the Farm.
  • 1979 – Thom began working full-time at the farm as the Teacher in Charge. Thom provided leadership and direction for 24 years, then continued to do so voluntarily as a Friends of Loma Vista Farm board member for another 5 years. Thom’s commitment and dedication to Loma Vista Farm spans 34 years. A huge Farm salute to Farmer Thom!
  • 1980 – Barbara Velasco began assisting Carolyn, then Rebecca, with their classes and has been a consistent supporter of the Farm’s mission ever since. She has been a part of the summer program since it began and has been a board member since its inception.
  • 1981 – A third grant (written by Thom) was approved as a demonstration grant for exemplary programs. Thom traveled throughout the state and did in-services on greenhouses and gardening and how to mainstream general education students and special education students with these projects.
  • 1982 – Beverly & Cal Calvert moved to Loma Vista Farm to become the new Farm Caretakers.
  • 1983 – Cindy Reed became a regular staff person on the Farm and spent 21 years lovingly caring for the Farm animals and inspiring school and 4-H children to do the same.
  • 1989 – “Summer Fun on the Farm” program was introduced.
  • 1990 – Rita LeRoy came to the Farm from Kansas State University to do an internship for her bachelor’s degree in agriculture, majoring in horticultural therapy.
  • 1991 – The Farm received the Farm Land Trust award and was spotlighted in a feature article in the New York Times newspaper. Thom and Rebecca traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive the award.
  • 1991 – Rebecca created the original Farm curriculum as part of work toward her master’s degree.
  • 2003 – The Vallejo School District entered receivership and cut funding for the Farm. The community formed a grass-roots “Save the Farm” committee.
  • 2004 – Friends of Loma Vista Farm, a nonprofit organization, was created.
  • 2004 – “Summer Fun on the Farm” program ended after 15 years.
  • 2004-2005 – Replacement of old Office building with trailer donated by the VCUSD.
  • 2005 – Friends of Loma Vista Farm resurrected and led “Summer Fun on the Farm.”
  • 2006 – Farm renovations and reconstruction came into vision; master planning and long-term future planning started!
  • 2007 – The Board of Directors for FLVF expanded to support the growing nonprofit organization. A new tag line surfaced: “Fertile Ground for Growing Minds.”
  • 2008 – Cindy’s Corral was dedicated at the Spring Festival in memory of Cindy Reed.
  • 2008 – Major renovations were planned by the VCUSD for the Farm’s kitchen and restroom facilities.
  • 2008 – Kevin Village Stone became the Farm’s new caretaker and renewed the Farm’s Native American Cultural area. He regularly shared his knowledge of Native culture with the children through storytelling and music.
  • 2008 – A building owned and provided by VCUSD was placed at the Farm to be used as the caretaker residence.
  • 2009 – Rita earned a master’s degree in education, bringing about a new curriculum, a Teacher Resource Center, and an alignment of all farm curricula to California State Department of Education Standards.
  • 2010 – The New Year ushered in a severe economically lean time, but also great hope for the future with the opening of the Learning Center for the children and teachers, a new rabbit house, a new web site, and the initiation of a Facebook page to increase awareness of the outstanding education the Loma Vista Farm offers.
  • 2012 – Cal’s Barn was completed with donations from the Calvert family and other supporters.
  • 2013 – New MOU was finalized between VCUSD and the Friends of Loma Vista Farm under the presidency of Shelee Loughmiller. Besides the hard work of Ms. Loughmiller, the long process was aided through the years by Morris Velasco, Janice Sullivan, and the preceding president, Judi Salvadori.
  • 2013 – Loma Vista Farm and the VCUSD begin a program together, the “Loma Vista Farm to School Produce Project.” Loma Vista Farm, with help from adult volunteers Whitney and Andrea and the students who come to the Farm, will help provide produce to the school lunch program.