Posted on 01 March 2015 by La Habra Journal
By Rachel Ramos
La Habra Journal
Growing plants on a cement parking lot may seem unrealistic and bizarre to most, but to Living Justly Industries, it is the perfect spot to nurture a luscious garden that can feed an entire hungry community. On Feb. 19, Living Justly Industries, a non-profit organization that partners with the Storehouse Ministry of Vineyard North Orange County Church, hosted the opening ceremony at their headquarters in La Habra. Guests saw for themselves an empty parking lot that has been transformed into a green and plentiful garden that uses the latest aquaponic and hydroponic technologies. The organization began when the founders, Tim Uvalle, Mark Weyant and Paul Sheets, all witnessed this innovative new farming technology and wanted to create their own urban farm module in order to provide the poor with the best and healthiest kinds of food.
“We went to a site with aquaponics and they shared that it was the best food on Earth. If it’s the best food on Earth, then we need to give it to the poor,” said Uvalle, the president of Living Justly Industries. “That day, we started the company”.
This event created awareness and showed the community their cause, thereby causing a spark among the hearts of many. Living Justly can’t do it alone; it is truly a community effort. They hope to get foundations and philanthropies to donate their time, money, or efforts so that they could build 100 of the community gardens within a 20-mile radius and continue to feed 150 local needy families a week. Living Justly feeds a variety of hungry citizens including veterans, homeless, senior citizens, single parents, unemployed or anyone else in need. Those in need are getting fed living fruits and vegetables that are of the highest nutritional content possible. Hydroponic gardens are easily maintained in grow-towers that conserve water, require no soil, reduce growing time, and can make use of under-utilized property. Hydroponics is a non-traditional way to grow plants that uses a nutrient-rich water solution and can be as simple as growing a plant in a hand-watered bucket or nursery pot.
The garden established in La Habra by Living Justly Industries also uses aquaponics, which is a system that combines aquaculture and hydroponics in order to raise edible fish in addition to the fruits and vegetables.
The hydroponic and aquaponic gardens are scalable and can be temporary. The space that Living Justly Industries has their garden in was originally used for trash bins. Now, it’s being used to feed healthy foods to those in need. Last March, Living Justly filed to the federal government for a 501(c)3 and were told they wouldn’t get funds for 18-36 months. But, July of that same year, they were able to become a non-profit. St. Jude’s Hospital gave them a grant to get their garden growing.
In addition to the partnership with the Storehouse Ministry local food bank, Living Justly Industries has partnered with the City of La Habra on a community garden program under the “Move More, Eat Healthy” campaign.
“We want to begin to make an impact in La Habra first, and then eventually spread to cities across Orange County and beyond,” said Weyant, vice president. of business development for Living Justly. “Other cities have noticed what we’re doing. We hope to have at least 29 gardens in due time”. As a faith-based community, Living Justly stays committed to this project and hopes to see it grow and prosper.
For more information, or to donate to this cause, visit www.livingjustlyindustries.org.