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Irvine's Great Park to Be Developed as Community Farm

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Irvine's Great Park, seen here in January when the Circus was set up in the parking lot (Photo by eli.pousson via Flickr)
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The Irvine City Council has approved a lease with a local farmer that will see to it 114 acres of Great Park be developed as an urban community farm. This is the first time farming will be taking place on the land that is Great Park since wealthy rancher James Irvine sold the land he used to farm lima beans to the US Government for them to use as the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro.

The lease was granted to the Kawamura family, who are considered to be the OC's leading farming family; they operate Orange County Produce and have been in the farming business for 60 years. Already farming on the Great Park land, and contributing over one hundred tons of produce to food banks and other charitable organizations, the Kawamuras plan to work in partnership with other local farmers. Notes Matt Kawamura, they also plan to work "with the county’s school districts to provide healthy food and fiber to our students through the schools lunch programs."

Farming is just one part of the Great Park project, which, when completed, will be nearly twice the size of New York's famed Central Park. They consider themselves to be "the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century."