Los Olivos Park in Phoenix could be home to urban farm, market

PHOENIX - Los Olivos Park in Phoenix could be home to a first-of-its-kind urban farm, market and education center. 

"There's nowhere that a child can go today, [who] lives in the core of Phoenix -- in this neighborhood, to actually see a working example of agriculture," said Aric Mei, a local restaurateur behind the project. Mei is working with Matthew Moore, a friend and fourth-generation Valley farmer. 

"A lot of it is really about providing people this fresh and nutritious food and seeing how it's grown so that can have an impact in their lives," Moore said. 

The duo's company, Greenbelt Hospitality, responded to a request for proposals by the Phoenix Parks and Recreation department. The $5.5-million farm would be privately funded and use 4.5-acres -- about 16 percent -- of the existing Los Olivos Park near 28th Street and Indian School Road. The land would be under a long-term lease from the city. 

"We're always interested in looking at different ways we can activate our parks," said parks spokesman Gregg Bach. 

Bach said some of the existing disc golf baskets would need to be moved elsewhere in the park but no current features or amenities would be lost. 

Creighton School District superintendent Dr. Donna Lewis said the farm could serve as a way to get students out of the classroom and experience "hands-on" learning. 

"We see kids getting the opportunity to focus on health and wellness, culinary arts, gardening, science," she said, adding several of the district's campuses are within walking distance of the site. 

The parks board will decide whether or not the project moves forward early next year. A public meeting is planned for January 11th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Devonshire Senior Center. 

For more information visit the project website

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