OUR ROOTS

Puro Plants is a movement promoting healthy lifestyles and environments started by Matthew Ramos. The seed for Puro Plants was originally planted in 2012 when Matthew was living in New York City. He used his free time between jobs to educate himself about sustainable communities and healthy lifestyles. He was inspired to try a plant-based lifestyle and further his health journey. The same year hurricane Sandy hit NYC, flooding lower Manhattan and stalling all bridges and tunnels in and out of the city. It caused a food shortage and power outages on the island. Although temporary, the event was a wake up call: Matthew realized the importance of growing food locally and communally to support highly populated urban areas.


He moved to Nicaragua in 2013 with the intent to immerse himself in a culture more connected and respectful to the land. He found a country living between two worlds: one with a higher sense of tribal community and another focused on developing and integrating global capitalism. What influenced him the most was the food systems and access to natural resources: fruit trees were abundant, open air markets offered local homegrown vegetables and a majority of fresh food, including fish, traveled less than five miles. How could he integrate this into his native city?


When he returned to East Los Angeles he lived in an apartment with a small grassy area that he turned into a garden where he grew corn, tomatoes, lettuce and peppers. He started an instagram to share and inspire his neighbors, originally called Urban Grow Program.


A few years later he applied for a vacant plot of land with Southern California Edison to start a new venture called Puro Plants: a community supported farm that would create soil and grow food to distribute back to the community. Puro Plants broke ground in September 2020 and became a healthy hub for the community, offering a space for neighbors to drop-off compost, children's programs, gardening classes, farmers/artisanal markets and more. The plan for Puro Plants also included acquiring the restaurant directly adjacent to the farm to create a farm-to-table restaurant to nourish the community.


For a year Puro Plants was highly successful in encouraging the community to adopt healthy lifestyles and was able to divert 60,000 pounds of organic material for compost and ground cover, grow hundreds of pounds of food, educate for over 900 students and have multiple health events.


However, when the city of Montebello made clear their opposing vision of health for the community and demands for fees from the farm were not met, they went to the SCE and closed the farm in October 2021.


Matthew continues to inspire and educate community online and plans to find a new home for Puro Plants somewhere in the world.

To see more of our journey check out our scrapbook.

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