Having recently been given an eviction notice by PUSD that was publicly posted by ranch Operator, Mud Baron, John Muir High's "Muir Ranch" program is set to be gone by the 1st of July, and it's not just the students that'll be feeling the loss.
For those unaware, the program is more than just a community garden. According to organizers, Muir Ranch is a 3.5 biodynamic urban teaching farm and teen jobs program. In other words, its a hands-on learning environment that teaches entrepreneurship and business in addition to the valuable trades of farming, landscaping, and gardening. This student-run business arranges and sells their flowers at farmers markets as well as to hotels, restaurants, and boutiques.
On Saturday, March 17th, Pasadena's first district Councilman, Tyron Hampton, took the opportunity to host an amazing outdoor community dinner at the Muir Ranch site to show residents for themselves exactly what is at risk of being taken away from our young people and our community.
During the program, Baron introduced a number of students and former students whom shared some inspirational testimonies involving their experience at Muir Ranch. Their success stories range from finishing school and working for the City of Pasadena to starting their own business.
Baron went on to state the the best way for local residents to save the program is to join their Muir Ranch Facebook group as well as contact PUSD school board members "every day" to persuade them all to vote for keeping this program.
Aside from the future of the program being uncertain, the evening was an absolute beauty of a community event. From delicious fresh vegetables and fruits grown on-site to succulent meat and seafood treats, the skilled chefs created a truly memorable experience for well over a hundred supporters and local neighbors to enjoy.
We reached out to PUSD Boardmenber, Patrick Cahalan, and he stated, "Muir Ranch's original arrangement with the district was through PEF. When PEF's MOU expired there is effectively no legal structure with Muir Ranch; nothing covering insurance liability, etc. Since Mr. Baron is no longer a district employee, he is no longer a mandated reporter, and there are other issues."
With huge "budget cuts" adding to the matter, it's really up to our communtiy to decide if we are willing to do what's required to keep the Muir Ranch program going.