Janet Loera clips cilantro from the vertical gardens at Homegirl Cafe.
Janet Loera works as a line cook at Homegirl Cafe now, but a few years ago, fresh out of jail, she spent most of her time in one of the gardens that provide this downtown Los Angeles restaurant with freshly harvested organic produce. “I was one of the first girls in the garden,” says the 21-year-old, cutting cilantro from a hanging herb garden outside the cafe. “That’s where I started.”
A map of the garden. Image courtesy of Babylonstoren.
Babylonstoren means “Tower of Babel” in Dutch, and the eight acres of gardens at this restored 18th-century Cape Dutch farmstead and hotel in South Africa’s Drakenstein Valley are, like their namesake, both monumental and tantalizingly unfinished. And yet, a walk through the grounds may help visitors do what that skyscraper of legend could not: touch heaven.
We poll six farmers about what new vegetables they are most excited about bringing to their customers this year.