Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Building a Community Garden from the ground up

The article posted below is a brief summary of the project I am now involved in. When I first saw mention in the paper that RC was starting a community garden I started crying. From joy. Seriously. I also thanks every deity I could name off the top of my head.

I don't know if people get just how badly I miss having a little spot of dirt to call 'my own' in the sense of having my own plants to care for and harvest....of course I researched getting a local community garden plot but alas, there arent many community gardens in the region, and all the ones I called had waiting lists, priorities for their own city residents or simply too far from me to be able to tend my plants as often as I would have liked.

The timing is serendipity at its best- since we moved back to the I.E. I am no longer a Los Angeles county resident and therefore no longer eligible to be a LA County Master Gardener. Its a mixed blessing, I was very homesick for the I.E. yet sad I wouldnt be involved in such an awesome program anymore, nto to know SB county's master gardeners, but their focus is much borader, where as LA is focused on improving the health of low income residents via school gardens, community gardens and of course educating them to grow their own as much as reasonable possible.

Anyway, so I find myself back in the I.E, after classes that involved visiting a couple of school and community gardens and hearing speakers talk about the work involved with geeting them started- then BAM- this opportunity basically fell into my lap. And the SB county master gardeners are helping with this project. Talk about perfect timing for me to move back! So now I literally get to watch and listen as some very motivated community members put their effort and ideas into making the largest community garden west of the Mississippi- 15 acres to be exact.

It was very exciting going to the committee meetings, 4 hours worth one day, 2 hours the next, but so many things to think about, research, and share with the others. I really hope I can make a difference and help this project get growing, literally! Everyone in the room just has their vision of the garden shining in their eyes- so now we have to work together and make it the best place for our community as we possibly can. Theres also plans for donating fresh produce to local food banks either via member donations from their plots or volunteer maintained "Gift of Giving Gardens". We also want a good educational opportunity for local schools to have their own school gardens here, or somehow have a children's garden that can function for multiple lesson plans. Theres also plans for a on-site farmers market to sell "cash crops" such as strawberries, pumpkins and grapes. I am just so amazed and humbled by these great folks who brought forth the idea to the city council and the property owners and are patently listening to all our crazy garden ideas! LOL


Sinfonian said...

Wow, what a great idea and amazing timing. You will both have a spot to garden and a way to give back to the community as a MG! You should complete your training. I truly hope that works out for you and your community.

I'm not sure I mentioned it, but my wife's family is in Rancho Cucamonga in the IE. Small world!

SuburbanGardener said...

hey y'all. I was reading about the President;s plea for community volunteerism. There is a whole section about how to start a community garden. Let me know if you want the link..


AJK said...

wow, congrats on such a wonderful opportunity!

Cindy said...

ooo, yes please on the link SG :)

Not Hannah said...

I'm so HAPPY for you. (And for your community!!)