One Day Farmers Market Returns with Home-grown Organic Produce

National Headquarters  |  January 25, 2024
Visitors communicating with the gardener
Written by: Hungli Tsai Translated by: H.B. Qin Edited by: Patrick McShane

Written by Hungli Tsai
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Patrick McShane

At 9 a.m., October 21, 2023, hundreds of gardening enthusiasts gathered at Tzu Chi USA Headquarters Campus in San Dimas, California for the One Day Farmers Market held by the Tzu Chi USA Headquarters Social Education Center. Gardening enthusiasts joined together to set up a variety of different booths on the campus, with a total of 23 booths displaying many seasonal fresh produce and handicrafts. The event also featured gardening gurus who showcased their home-grown organic produce and Asian fruit plants, while also exchanging gardening tips and methods with visitors.

The Golden State of California is famous for its sunny climate. Many Californian families use the optimal weather and fertile soil to grow fruits and vegetables in their yards. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people decided to take up new hobbies and gardening was a popular pick. Seeing a common interest and an opportunity to work with the community to promote healthy habits, Tzu Chi USA Headquarters started the One Day Farmers Market event, hoping to provide a weekend activity for people to learn about environmental protection, and organic gardening while also inspiring more residents to take up gardening as a hobby. The first event was held on June 25, 2022, (For details, please read Revolving Around the Earth: One-Day Farmers Market Spreads Environmental Awareness and Sparks Curiosity)

and attracted many people.  San Dimas Mayor Emmett Badar and his wife, Pamela were invited to the first market to mark the special occasion.

An Award-Winning Bigflower Cymbidium Wows Visitors

The sun shone brightly on the morning of October 21 as Tzu Chi volunteers prepared for the Market. Ching Shih, director of the Education and Development Office of Tzu Chi USA, entered the Tzu Chi Headquarters campus and tied colorful balloons to the advertising signs as a guide for visitors. Tzu Shaos, members of Tzu Chi’s youth organization, Aaron Chen, Rachel Chen, Lydia Zhang, and Calvin Truong, were busy working hard to set up 23 booth tents under the guidance of volunteers Min Xing and Long Truong. They quickly set up 23 booth tents that provided shade from the sun and rain, as well as space for each participant to show off their produce or products.

Tzu Shao setting up the tent
Four Tzu Shaos sweat as they set up the tents. Photo/Long Truong
Tzu Chi volunteers group photo
Tzu Chi volunteers work together to set up 23 booth tents. Photo/Long Truong

The One Day Farmers Market started at 9:00 a.m. The 23 booths displayed a wide range of fresh produce, including fruit saplings, vegetable seedlings, succulents, honey, enzymes, knit pieces, and Jing Si products.

At Participant Eva’s booth, there were Bigflower Cymbidium, Cattleya orchids, and osmanthus flowers, among which, was an eye-catching Bigflower Cymbidium. This specimen of Bigflower Cymbidium was in the orchid competition at Huntington Library’s Art Collections and Botanical Gardens not long ago and won second place. The Bigflower Cymbidium has a fragrant scent that is long-lasting, and its Chinese name is synonymous with “good fortune”, implying new spring and incoming good fortune, making it a popular flower during the Lunar New Year period every year.

At the vegetarian diet booth, booth owner Hsien Chuan Chiu showcased his magic of turning soon-to-be-discarded pumpkins back into healthy and beautiful meals and artistic decorations.

Pumkin decoration
Pumpkins are turned into healthy and beautiful meals. Photo/Hsien Chuan Chiu
pumpkin soup
Pumpkin soup. Photo/Hsien Chuan Chiu

Horticultural Experts Shared Their Experience in Organic Farming

Renowned Los Angeles horticulture instructor Allen Hsu is an expert in environmentally friendly organic gardening. Well-known in the Los Angeles horticulture community, he has been giving lectures on horticulture on Radio 1300 for many years and lectures at the Diamond Bar Evergreen Club. At his booth at the One Day Farmers Market, he encouraged people to grow organic produce in their own homes, “You don’t need to use chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers to grow these organic produce in your own home, especially the various fruits from Southeast Asia, which can be grown successfully at home.”

Gardener and her organic vegetables
Renowned Los Angeles horticulture instructor Allen Hsu teaches visitors how to grow organic produce in their houses. Photo/Shuli Lo

I encourage everyone to grow produce with organic methods, and it’s healthy to eat vegetables and fruits that are grown by oneself. I am grateful to Tzu Chi for organizing such an event.

Horticulture expert Liyuan Li, who specializes in organic plant cultivation and organic fertilizer production, is grateful to Tzu Chi for helping gardening enthusiasts to have a sales channel for the organic plants they grow, “Many of Tzu Chi’s friends also like our plants, including the fertilizers that we make ourselves, which are completely natural and organic, with no chemicals in them, and have been fermented for almost six to seven months, which is very good. Many of our friends who have used it said it is very effective.”

Today, I brought kale, violet cauliflower, and various fruit trees that we Asians love, such as lychee, longan, jasmine, and many other things that people like. Everyone came to learn about planting and how to use fertilizers. We all had a great time today, thank you Tzu Chi for organizing this event, and we hope it will be held more often in the future so that more people can benefit from it.

Gardener George Chen
Booth owner George Chen shows his homegrown produce such as black diamond squash. Photo/Long Truong

George Chen, owner of Emergency Horticulture, is also an instructor at the Da.Ai Farm in Walnut, California. He said, “We are here to take this opportunity to show different things and promote home gardening, we need to promote it, that’s the main purpose of our participation in the Farmers Market.”

A Wonderful and Practical Weekend

Ramon Gutirrez, a San Dimas resident who attended the One Day Farmers Market for the first time, praised the market as a wonderful event, “It’s a wonderful event. Actually, I live in San Dimas and it’s my first time here. It’s really beautiful here, and the Farmers Market, I hope that this event continues and attracts more people. I really appreciate you guys, always doing things for the whole community and San Dimas.”

The Tzu Chi USA Headquarters campus is full of life and laughter. Residents who came to visit the One Day Farmers Market had a wonderful weekend. The beautiful scenery of the campus and the colorful gardening booths made it unforgettable. More importantly, people learned more about environmental protection, and are inspired to take action, cherish the earth and live in harmony with nature.

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