Friday, February 15, 2013

HEAL Zone Kickoff

We've been busy with our many projects, all moving along in a great way thanks to PIO staff, students, and our community partners.

On Saturday, February 9 Huerta del Valle and the Ontario Wheelhouse participated in the HEAL Zone kickoff event, celebrating all the health-focused activities and programs to support healthy eating and active living that will take place in Ontario's HEAL Zone over the next three years thanks to a $1 million grant from Kaiser Permanente.
Jesus presenting the site model to a
community member

Huerta del Valle presented a 3D model of the garden site to community members--Maria Teresa's idea, and it came out beautifully. Everyone's question: when will we make this real? More about the event over on HDV's blog

The mayor handed the mic over to Max to tell the
crowd what the Wheelhouse does

Central to the event was mayor Paul Leon raffling off a sweet bike, courtesy of the Wheelhouse! Thanks to Max and Eric (PIO intern) who put in lots of hard hours getting three bikes ready to be given away to future Wheelhouse frequenters :)

Marcy, Briana, Margot and Allison
Pitzer students Briana, Allison and Margot set up a stand to offer samples of oranges and avocados from Adam's Acres in Rialto that will soon be sold at Pronto Market (731 S. Euclid Ave, cross street California) and Ontario Super Stop (1442 S. Euclid Ave, cross street Budd), along with other fresh, local produce.

These oranges were delicious in a serious kind of way--you can tell from the photo, no?
or from how Lucy was devouring them

And our friends from Heritage Farmer's Market handed out some beautiful lettuce and other local produce--a huge thanks to them for participating in the event.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pitzer in Ontario featured in the Orange Peel

Pitzer in Ontario's Huerta del Valle community garden project was recently featured in the Pitzer student newspaper, The Orange Peel. Check it out here:

Also, keep up to date on garden happenings over on the Huerta del Valle blog. Every day we're a step closer to breaking ground at our new site next to Bon View Park!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Summer Updates

Another huge thank you to our Spring students for their final presentations last night--all us PIO staff are so proud of that they have accomplished this semester. Their final papers will soon be available on the PIO website.

The glowing Spring 2012 PIO cohort, after their last class and before the paper-writing crunch
Left to right: Professa Tessa, Ali, Harper, Candy, Zavi, Bea, Gio, Ru, Brian, Sage, and HeeYoung

A brief update on what's a-brewin' in Ontario this summer:

Food Access
Huerta del Valle community garden members at the new site
Ru Apt (PIO Spring '12) is going to work with Nora Stewart, (PIO Spring '11) for three weeks to introduce her to the Huerta del Valle community garden, garden manager Maria Alonso, the families involved and the history leading up to the current site change. Sage Schaftel (PIO Spring '12) is going to fill her in on the market makeover project she's been working on all semester to source organic, hyperlocal produce to a corner market at a main intersection in Ontario. Sage has located a store owner who is more than enthusiastic about the project and serving his community. Nora will carry the baton forward, as it were, with both these projects throughout the summer.

We are so excited to work with a market that has such a
prominent location (and color)--on the corner of Euclid and Mission
Raja, owner of Pronto market


Erin Gurley, who took Tessa's Healing Our Communities, Healing Ourselves class this semester started working with the Wheelhouse for her community engagement component and conducted a bike distribution workshop with day laborers from the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center. She'll be continuing that work and expanding the program to the Rancho day laborer corner and Warehouse Workers United in the 5 weeks she'll be working with us at the beginning of summer. She'll work with Lucas Wrench, a Pomona student and green bikes manager, who has secured a grant through Pomona's Draper Center for this program. Her work will transition into Max Estela's (PIO Spring '11) arrival July 1 as our first Wheelhouse Urban Fellow! Which we are so excited about!

Brian Robbins (PIO Spring '12), in addition to seriously serving our Pitzer community as summer Grove House caretaker, will be continuing his voter engagement work with Inland Congregations United for Change. ICUC youth will be happy to put him to work, I'm sure :)

Susan and I are thrilled that all of this is happening--we couldn't be more excited for what's to come. I am so glad I have the opportunity to stick around another year and continue to work with our terrific students and inspiring community partners.

Thank you all, and please come visit me in Scott 232,


Monday, April 23, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Final Presentations May 8

Spring 2012 Final Presentations will take place at the Ontario House (132 E. H St) from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8. Pitzer in Ontario students will present their research and action projects for the semester to the group and community partners. Senior Charlie Carden and Phoebe Duvall, Alycia Lang and Maya Reddy of Prof. Gina Lamb's Media Praxis Ontario course will also present the work they did this semester profiling alternative food projects in Ontario. Rumor has it Prof. Tom Dolan will be cooking us up some tasty dinner.

All are welcome and invited. RSVP to so we can expect you for dinner.

On another note, applications are now being accepted for Fall 2012! The application form is available here. Next semester's projects will include labor organizing with Warehouse Workers United, community organizing with Inland Congregations United for Change, and ongoing community gardening/food access work. If you're interested but not sure, attending final presentations is a great way to get a sense of what the PIO experience is all about.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Nosotros no cruzamos la frontera, la frontera nos cruz├│ a nosotros"

This popular political affirmation, spoken by our host Jaime at his office in Region IX's Migrant Education Program, aptly calls to attention one of the most important themes of the trip we take each semester to the Mexico-U.S. border as part of Susan Phillips' Critical Community Studies course: the border is imaginary. We made it up, building this monumental and mythic barrier out of political will and an increasingly rabid discourse around national security that makes the man across the fence an unrecognizable and inhuman alien. Yes, we also built it of steel and concrete--
but as we can see when we get to the beach where Border Field State Park and Tijuana meet, it's an imaginary line in the sand that the Border Patrol agent tells us we cannot cross.  Six months ago all that separated us from those people on the Other Side was a thigh-high temporary Jersey barrier. That is, it was all that separated us as long as the agent wasn't worried one of those Aliens would try to blend in with us and sneak across as part of our group.

The trip is also about just how real something imaginary can be, about the death and suffering we have created as a country by drawing a line on a map and spending billions of dollars to make people believe in it. The pain feels very real when we see Alberto cry because he has not seen his 13 year old daughter since she was a few months old. Since then he's been sending money back to this family that he tries to forget in order to keep going.

We feel it—the terror and the loneliness of the desert that scorches during the day and freezes you at night. Though we do what feels like a happy chore, we know putting water stations out fulfills only a modest goal of keeping death at bay for those travelers who have spent days amidst sand and rock and the sun and not much else.

Above all, it becomes clear that the Border is a choice--and one that our country has irresponsibly not decided to make one way or the other. We simultaneously build it up and ignore it and we do this duplicitously and shamelessly for purely political goals. We pour xenophobic words and taxpayer dollars into construction of the Border for those who want a scapegoat for our own nation's shortcomings while we ignore it on behalf of those megalithic cornerstones of American capitalism that need below-minimum wage labor to keep their goods cheap.

The Water Station volunteers who take us out into the Anza Borrego desert to put out barrels and fill them with sand and gallon jugs of water know this and it makes them mad. They don't care whether you're conservative or liberal and they don't care to identify themselves on the horizontal political spectrum. They put the stations out quietly, dissatisfied with their task of bandaging over the gaping wound that results from our border policy.