The Coast News Group
Community Commentary Encinitas

Farm Lab politically ambitious

The EUSD Farm Lab program by Quail Gardens is very ambitious, politically ambitious!  And Encinitas taxpayers are paying dearly for it.

The recent PR pieces put out by the “new” EUSD Farm Lab director, Superintendent Timothy Baird and the Leichtag Foundation are misleading and would be laughable if it weren’t another example of public servants throwing away taxpayer dollars for pet projects destined to fail.

Not only is funding for the Farm Lab coming directly out of Prop P funds, which was pitched to taxpayers as a necessary debt to cover technology and construction upgrades to aging schools — not to build a farm — but the food production claimed by EUSD and the farm director are outright false.

Much of the food they grew was grown at other sites.  The tomatoes they brag about were started in a greenhouse and transplanted to the “farm.” This is theater.

It costs approximately $350,000 just to hold on to the “Farm Lab.” In addition, the EUSD board and Baird have borrowed and spent over $1.5 million on the Farm Lab to date and plan to spend much more. A $10,000 grant?  That only covers operations for about 10 days.  They would have to grow and sell 60,000 heads of lettuce every month all year long just to break even.

If our nine Encinitas elementary schools had fully funded libraries, art programs, science programs, physical education programs, music programs and a full staff of educators then, maybe?

Heck, if we even had a cafeteria or any food prep ability!   They spend more on this vacant lot than on providing food to students.

Where in the language of Prop P does it say we can make this type of expenditure?  What does this have to do with educating elementary school children?  Do you really think the voters are on board with this?  I guess we will see.

Want to see the Farm Lab or “Food Forest” as it was comically referred to?  Drive by the chain link fenced lot on Quail Gardens Drive and have a look at millions of your tax dollars at work.

Bruce Stirling is an Encinitas resident.