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Friday, October 11, 2013

On Campus and on the Farm at Cal Poly Pomona

Earlier this week I was 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles - in Pomona. Above, the large agricultural area that's part of the Cal Poly Pomona university campus. The pumpkin patch opens October 19th. Information can be found here. More on that in a bit. 
I was staying with friends near Santa Monica. This is driving past downtown Los Angeles along the Santa Monica - "the 10" - Freeway. Fortunately, once I got past downtown, I was driving against traffic. Not so good for those driving in east from the San Gabriel Valley - and beyond. On my left, the office towers of downtown Los Angeles. 
On my right, "Glory Church of Jesus Christ" - located at the former Olympic Auditorium, built for the 1932 Olympics. While there are literally hundreds of Korean and Korean-American churches throughout Los Angeles, this location along the Santa Monica Freeway (or simply "the 10") is certainly the most visible. 
Cal Poly Pomona, located the intersection of the 10 (San Bernardino) and 57 (Orange) Freeways. 

Cal Poly Pomona is just one of the twenty-three campuses that makeup the massive California State University system.  With over 430,000 thousand students, and an annual budget of $7.2 billion dollars, it is the largest university system in the United States. 
People in other parts of the country (or world) have a hard time understanding this, but thanks to a Mediterranean climate, rain in Los Angeles in October is extremely rare. Nice little needed downpour for about a hour. It actually snowed in the mountains just above the campus. 
The administration building was featured in the 1997 science fiction film "Gattaca." Never saw it, but I refer to this as the "Gattaca Building."
Sycamore Trees on campus. A little know fact is Sycamores, along with California Live Oaks, are the only trees native to Southern California. Palm trees, along with everything else, are from elsewhere. 

Speaking of "from elsewhere," according to a wikipedia article, "Cal Poly Pomona has over 1,000 visa-bearing international students. The majority of them come from Asia, but many others also come from Mexico, Russia, Morocco, Germany, and Zimbabwe,"

While the campus has only 3% African American, otherwise it's very diverse ethnically, in many ways reflecting the rest of Los Angeles - with no single group constituting a "majority" - that is, over 50% of the student body. The largest minority group is Latino 35%, followed by Asian-American 30%, followed by White 23%. 

I had a few minutes in-between appointments. Above, the campus library. Not sure about the escalator. What? The university doesn't want students getting worn out walking up a flight of stairs?

Birds of Paradise, the official flower of the City of Flower, on campus. Betcha didn't know that L.A. had an official flower. Here's a link to some thoughts from a previous post. 

Palm trees and the Gattaca Building - and heading toward my car. 

Driving out, I spotted some eye catching sun flowers. I had a few minutes and decided to stop and see what it was all about. The flowers, the row of palm trees, and rolling hills together capture the beauty that is Southern California. 

While Cal Poly Pomona is very much part of the Los Angeles metro area, the campus covers a massive 1,438 acres - over two square miles. 
No, this is not rural Pennsylvania. I had no idea that Cal Poly Pomona had this kind of land - or beauty! Pomona's 15 minutes (or was is 3 minutes?) of fame occurred on a old I Love Lucy episode when Fred announced that he wanted to buy an orange grow in Pomona.  
At one time, not only Pomona, but most of Los Angeles County looked like this. 

Up until the early 1950's agriculture was not Los Angeles County's largest industry, but in terms of overall production Los Angeles County was the top agricultural county in the U.S. Incredible, really. It wasn't some county in Iowa or any of those Midwestern states - L.A. county was #1
The agricultural unit was setting up for it's annual pumpkin patch event. This year it'll be opening on Saturday October 19th.
Persimmons, in abundance, next to the pumpkin patch. 
Looking at these amazing fruit trees, I'm reminded of what theologians refer to as "Divine Providence" - that is, the provision of God. As my family and I buy most - really, all - of our fruits and vegetables at our local supermarket, it's so easy to forget what an orchard actually looks like. 

To anyone living in rural areas, this is no big deal. But to those of us living in urban (or suburban) areas, this is a nice reminder of where our food actually comes from. That alone is worth a trip here.
Looks like there is also a corn maze. LOVE the rolling hills in the background. 
The Farm Store isn't really a farm store, more of a place for locals and visitors to purchase local (and not so local) items. 
Inside the Farm Store. They had some locally made (not sure if it was locally grown) preserves. Picked up a couple of jars. Good stuff. 
Back into the reality that is Southern California. Yes, Los Angeles continues to have some of the worst the worst traffic in the country. 

But maybe that what makes the Farm at Cal Poly so unique - and such a jewel in the massive sprawl that is metro Los Angeles. 

Here's a link to the Cal Poly Pomona Farm site. 

Worth a visit, whether you have young kids, want to a taste of Los Angeles County's agricultural past, or just a reminder of what generations past referred to as Divine Providence. 

© 2013


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