Category: Big Wave Stories

Groundbreaking

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By Jeff Peck

By Jeff Peck

Founder and CEO of Big Wave

Groundbreaking

It has been a twenty-year journey, but we will finally have an initial groundbreaking ceremony on the Big Wave property on August 15.

It was approximately twenty years ago that Steve and Jamie Barber and my wife Valerie and I came up with the idea of Big Wave and began to lay the groundwork. 

We have owned the property for more than twenty years. We asked other families in our community to join us in our effort to use the land to provide affordable housing, meaningful employment and community to adults with special needs. They heard our call and we quickly built a strong coalition of local support. Over the years, we successfully built support throughout the county. We have had to jump through many state and local hoops in order for us to build Big Wave. We were prepared to meet the many regulations and fees, and we did, finally, after twenty years of waiting, hoping and believing in our mission. 

When we introduced the Big Wave idea to the community, most understood the need for what we call “intentional community” for our most vulnerable adults. With the encouragement of the families, San Mateo County supervisors, mayors and countless parents, we began the process of applying and reapplying and applying and reapplying for the necessary permits. It took twenty years, but the county agreed once they saw how many families on the Coast support Big Wave.

I have a lot of people to thank for getting us to this point—of course, Kim Gainza, my right hand, Scott Holmes, each Board of Director for their incredible patience and determination, our familes, and to my daughter Elizabeth whom has given me such a wonderful purpose in life. And thank you to our government officials, especially Supervisors Horsley and Pine, and Planning staff Steve Monowotz and Camille Leung, who approved the plans and supported us through it all. Thank you for working with us.

 

What’s Next?

We’ve been farming on the property since 2010, working with sixty adults with special needs each day. We are developing, maintaining, and improving a sustainable, year-round food production system that will help supply the daily requirement of fresh fruit, salad greens, vegetables, and eggs for our future residents. We are learning how to grow our own food and raise chickens in an organic and sustainable manner. Our residential plan calls for more than 8 acres to be available for farming and egg and honey production.

We will be starting the water and sewer main lines this September. 

We want to continue supporting local team sports– including Challenger Baseball and 50 players on the Coastside Special Olympics Basketball teams. We can hardly wait to resume these successful programs after things return to normal. 

Our goal is to break ground for actual construction this fall. Keep your fingers crossed because we have many local families and businesses that are eager to join us as soon as possible, for the sake of so many adults with special needs.

So welcome to Big Wave. We are an organization that believes that we are only as great as the communities that we serve. Alongside with One Step Beyond and several other programs that support adults with special needs, we continue to work together to help create a community in which everyone has a place to call home. 

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What’s Happening at the Big Wave Farm?

FARM Horz 01
By Catherine St. Marie

By Catherine St. Marie

Catherine St. Marie helps direct volunteer activities on the Big Wave Farm.

What’s Happening at the Big Wave Farm?

Despite being unable to host our usual generous and hardworking volunteer teams from local universities, nonprofits, and corporations, our skeleton crew of essential workers has been working hard to prepare the land for a busy and productive summer! The farm team planted 50 tomato plants and more than 400 squash seeds out in the field. Other seeds that have been planted are carrot, beet, lettuce, beans, cucumbers, onions, and greens. Currently, our blueberry bushes are covered in ripening berries and our strawberry plants have many flowers that will turn to berries. Our artichoke plants have many green artichoke globes popping up above the silver foliage.  In addition, we are updating our irrigation capabilities on the property. Hopefully, with new irrigation parts, we will be able to boost our production. We anticipate a yummy and fruitful summer!

 

The chickens have a beautiful new chicken pen!  A big thanks to a family who donated 2 days of work to erect this sturdy structure. The chickens are excited to move into their new space! The chickens are happy and healthy. Egg production is at its peak with 2 and half dozen eggs collected daily. 

 

Our beekeepers have been buzzing with excitement!   The queens are taking care of business and laying eggs; the number of bees and hives have tripled because of their hard work. The worker bees are just as productive; they are already filling frames up with honey.

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Making Intentional Communities More Accessible

BigWaveLandscape_COVER_03
By Jeff Peck

By Jeff Peck

Jeff Peck is the founder and CEO of Big Wave.

Making Intentional Communities More Accessible

In California alone, approximately 175,000 adults with special needs live with family members, and they are aging. When their caregivers pass away, where will these vulnerable adults live and who will take care of them? Part of the answer to this question should involve a quality of life answer.  At Big Wave we have an answer.

For the last twenty years, my business partner Steve and I have been committed to creating and implementing a model that provides affordable housing as well as quality of life for our local community members with special needs. This is a practical answer that has involved dozens of smart parents of adults with special needs in the Half Moon Bay area.

Most of the existing programs that are administered use state and federal grants to purchase and renovate property to be used as homes for individuals with special needs. While this works for some who have family and friends close by, it doesn’t work for the entire special needs community. As parents, we are aware that typical housing programs are filled with adults without a community, who feel isolated in their living space, and others yearn for a purpose.

I’ve seen frustrated families who have prayed for alternatives. We spent a long time listening to these families.

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