WHAT'S GROWIN' ON
IN LAKE & MENDOCINO COUNTIES
Over the past decade, the Gardens Project has been growing more than just delicious, local produce. We’ve built 47 community gardens to grow resiliency in our community.
Take it from Lorindra Frances, a member of the brand new Middletown Community Garden. “The whole fire thing this year was really scary since I lost everything in the first one. But to have a garden again makes my heart really really happy,” Frances remarked as she watered her raised bed, beautifully adorned by a variety of vegetables. “I left during the evacuations and those that didn’t, watered my area while I was gone. What better way than with the earth to unite a community with so much devastation.”
Community gardens have the power to transform grief, daily annoyances, and hardships intobeautiful friendship, resilient community, and organic produce. The garden represents the cycle of life, and with the new growth comes the recycling of last season’s nutrients. Two of our beloved community gardeners have passed on this year, as many more have celebrated the birth of new loved ones. Seasoned gardeners have passed on their knowledge, tools, and saved seeds to newer gardeners.
It’s been a year of growth and renewal. In 2017 alone, we’ve held 20 food production workshops on topics ranging from seed starting and transplanting to compost production to edible wild plants. Over 3,000 community gardeners are currently growing organic produce to feed their loved ones on land that was previously vacant, underused, or paved over. We’ve built 4 new community gardens, and laid the groundwork to complete a fifth by early next year. We celebrated a decade of empowering community, with family, gardeners, and friends, and of course garden-fresh cuisine. Along the way, we’ve enjoyed countless garden potlucks, marveled at the sweetness of fresh spring strawberries, and rallied as our communities were hit hard by this year’s North Bay Firestorm.
Invest in a more resilient food system in your community. Support the Gardens Project this #givingtuesday.
Since the Gardens Project was founded in 2007, we’ve worked with the people of Mendocino and Lake Counties to develop 45 community and school gardens. That’s an average of 4.5 gardens a year! A lot has changed since the first community gardens in Ukiah, but the need to increase food security in both counties is still there and the work continues…
Setting up the drip irrigation at the Willits Head Start Preschool GardenREAD MORE >
This past November, a big winter storm wiped out the roof of one of the hoop houses at The Learning Garden at Fort Bragg High School, a project of the Noyo Food Forest. NFF is a longtime friend and partner to the Gardens Project (and member of the Gardens Network) and we wanted to see that hoophouse growing fresh greens for the Fort Bragg Unified School District once again.
NFF asked if the Gardens Project could cover the $1,400 bill to fix the roof and add sliding doors to both ends of the structure. With the Gardens Project support, the “south hoop” is back in action and producing fresh organic greens for school lunch.
Huge thanks to all of our donors who make these kinds of gifts possible!
Sunshine, fresh air and community support was abundant Sunday, September 30th at the Run the Ranch 5k! Jaxon Keys Winery generously hosted this fundraiser for the Gardens Project to help support the continued building of community and school gardens. Over 50 people came out to run or walk the course that wound through rolling hills and beautiful vineyards of the winery. Participants were rewarded for their efforts with a farm fresh lunch. Kids had a great time making their own organic smoothies with our smoothie bike and adults enjoyed complementary wine tasting on the porch. Winners of each age category took home a bottle of Jaxon Keys wine or spirits.
People were chatting and sipping warm coffee at Ukiah's Civic Center bright and early on Friday, September 21st as a kick off to the United Way's Day of Caring: A day meant for people to come together and serve their community by volunteering. The Mendocino College Women's Basketball team and a few other caring individuals joined the Gardens Project at Mayacama Industries in order to turn an old, filled in swimming pool into a useful garden. The crew spent the day pulling weeds, digging trenches, installing irrigation, building the garden bed and moving it into place. Because of their efforts there is now a place where the members of Mayacama can grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables.
Thank you Russ Troxler, Garret Troxler, Corrinne Chaulk, Jody Steliga and the Mendocino College women's basketball team as well as the great folks at Mayacama for all your hard work!
For more on the Day of Caring check out this article in the Ukiah Daily Journal or click here to see more pictures!
garden, meet the gardeners, start a garden, support garden development and donate!
What are our next steps? Become obsolete! We are completing Year One of three of our Garden Leadership Training series. A burgeoning Leadership Council of Community and School Gardens is preparing itself to lead the Community and School Garden Movement to sustain and expand our work. Learn more about these leaders in Garden Leaders Rising!
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, several Healthcorps and Rural Health Scholars began building a cob kitchen at the Talmage Preschool garden.
Cob is a natural building material, consisting of clay, sand and straw, which, when given a good roof and foundation, can last... a really long time. It's a sustainable method of building, involving the use of local materials, like the clay/soil on site, and found materials like rocks, bottles and old concrete blocks.
The volunteers began constructing a foundation for the counters, which will attach to the existing cob oven, under the existing roof structure.
The counters will surround the oven, creating a complete kitchen that the preschool will use for outdoor cooking. The inside of the counters and oven will be gated to limit preschooler access, and there will be an attached smaller counter on the outside for preschoolers to use to help cook!
MCOE Youth will be finishing the project along with Gardens Project Healthcorps, Katrina Hanson.
We'll keep you posted with more updates as the kitchen evolves.
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