SAVE OUR ORCHARD COALITION
P.O. Box 10038, Santa Ana, CA 92711-0038
PRESS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 11, 2012
Contact: Jeannie Gillett, SOOC Coordinator, 714-296-4642
The Metabolic Studio Supports Legal Defense Fund for Landmark Orange County Orchard
SANTA ANA, CA (May 11, 2012) – The Metabolic Studio has made a generous grant of $10,000 to the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society on behalf of Santa Ana-based Save Our Orchard Coalition for support of the organization’s legal defense fund. The coalition is fighting to preserve the Sexlinger Family Farm, the largest remaining intact orange orchard in the city of Santa Ana, located in Orange County, California.
“We are extremely grateful to the Metabolic Studio and the Annenberg Foundation for supporting the Save Our Orchard Coalition’s legal initiatives,” said organization co-founder, Jeannie Gillett. “This historically-significant orchard faces possible destruction in order to make way for the construction of 24 housing units. We are so thankful to the Metabolic Studio for this grant award.”
“The vision that the Save Our Orchard Coalition has for the Sexlinger orange grove is one that can be embraced by anyone who cares about local food, fresh air, healthy soils and community resilience,” said Jaime Lopez Wolters, Agriculturalist and representative of the Metabolic Studio. “They realize the importance of agricultural lands in our urban environments and deserve the full support of the local community. We hope the funds provided will help keep the momentum behind this important endeavor.”
According to Gillett, the grant could not have come at a better time.
“The Santa Ana Historic Commission recently voted against placing this irreplaceable piece of our agricultural history and heritage on the city’s register of historic properties. This grant helps to fund our appeal of that decision.”
The site retains 230 Valencia orange trees and a modest Craftsman Bungalow built in 1914. This five-acre parcel, purchased in 1913, was the home of the Sexlinger family for nearly 100 years. The last family member died in 2006. This orchard and home represent the typical family citrus operation, hundreds of which dotted the Orange County landscape from the late 1800’s through the 1940’s. The demand for housing by servicemen returning from WW II prompted the sale and development of large tracts of land and by the 1960’s much of the farm land had disappeared.
“Today, Orange County has less than 80 acres of citrus remaining,” said Gillett. “I know of no other property in the entire county that represents our agricultural history like the Sexlinger orchard does. It’s like walking into our past.”
This grant is a significant step towards realizing their goal.
“As with any grass-roots organization, we need people to help spread the word about our efforts and to attend public meetings to show their support for saving this unique gem within our city,” said Gillett. “We are also hoping to find some angel investors who recognize this resource – a century-old intact orchard farm – has greater value to our community than 24 additional houses.”
The Save Our Orchard Coalition is made up of members of the community and aligned organizations working to preserve the historic Sexlinger orange orchard. Support for Save Our Orchard Coalition has been provided by the Metabolic Studio, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation. The property is located at 1584 East Santa Clara Avenue, between Grand and Tustin Avenues in the city of Santa Ana. For more information, visit www.saveourorchard.org.