Orange County Great Park includes agriculture center

10/25/2012 02:42:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Visitors can see an assortment of crops that haven’t been grown in Orange County for a long time.

“We planted the first commercial planting of stone fruits in Orange County in the last 60 years,” Kawamura said.

He’s also looking into the feasibility of adding a vineyard.

The company is working to take itself off the power grid at the site and plans to use biofuels, electric power or hydrogen fuel cells to fuel tractors and other equipment.

Kawamura has a prototype algae production facility that can produce oil for cooking or biofuel.

The 2.5-acre Farm + Food Lab, staffed by Master Gardeners from the University of California Cooperative Extension, helps home gardeners learn about conservation systems they can duplicate in their back yards.

The Farm + Food Lab also has a demonstration aquaponic system.

The designer of the Great Park, which also includes a carousel, helium balloon rides and hosts a variety of community activities, included plans for a “forest” that visitors could walk through.

But Kawamura said the cost of maintaining an “artificial forest” is enormous. and he proposed a forest of avocado trees instead.

Kawamura and Larson recently launched a VALOR — Veteran’s Agricultural Learning Opportunities and Resource — program at the Great Park that teaches veterans how to farm.

In 2013, the Great Park will host the Solar Decathlon, an international competition for building solar homes.

Miami-based Lennar Corp. is paying the city $200 million for the first phase of the park development in return for rights to build residential and commercial units on other parts of the site.


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