New Preschool Garden

There's going to be a new preschool garden in town! The Gardens Project has been working with the Head Start Child Development Program of NCO to develop a new garden at the Orchard Head Start Preschool in Ukiah. The story is a classic one of how community gardens start, so read on if that interests you...

In the past three years, The Gardens project has worked with communities to help develop five preschool gardens. There is a plot of land adjacent to the Orchard Head Start Preschool in Ukiah that has been vacant for as long as anyone could remember. And so people started thinking, "Could it be a garden?"

Cassie Dillman, a staff woman at The Gardens Project, started investigating the land, headed to city hall to find out who the owners might be, and then contacted Jonathan Whipple and Peggy Agnew to see if they would be open to the idea of making a garden for the preschool on their land. They were!

The Gardens Project staff drafted an agreement for the property and the preschool community started getting excited. Orchard Head Start is fortunate to have some teachers who are very passionate about the garden, and this helped catalyze the community's resources to make the garden happen. The father of an assistant teacher connected the preschool with a tractor from the vineyard he works at. They came and disced the land and then went the extra mile and disced it again and amended it. Dark Horse Ranch and North Cal Wood Products chipped in with donated and discounted fencing materials. The facilities fellows at Head Start and parent volunteers put the fence up. A teacher's father is building raised beds and an arbor, and the community is working together to design the garden, which will feature an exploratory space for the children as well as production oriented space for the kitchen and parents.

It's all coming together.