Over the last couple of weeks, you’ve met some of the folks in the Gardens Project network whose work has ‘the Pollinator Effect’. This week, meet a busy bee who sows health and wellbeing next to her tomatoes and chiles in the garden.
Susana Aguilar has been the manager of the Washington Street Community Garden in Ukiah since it opened its gates over seven years ago. “One thing that is very important to me is to come to the garden and stay busy here,” she says. Susana can often be found weeding pathways, caring for the community herb garden, fixing the compost, or attending to the miscellaneous garden tasks that always seem to spring up. “I don’t just do my plot,” she says, “wherever I see it has something to be done, I do it.”
Susana’s dedication is part of what makes her a good manager, but she also brings exceptional generosity and a lifetime of learning to the community garden. “My father used to plant corn and beans on the mountains,” Susana remembers, “I used to go with my father and help him, pulling weeds from the garden.” After moving to the United States from Mexico, Susana worked on a crew with her husband in the vineyards. Now, she brings her years of knowledge to the community garden. “I just want people to learn from my skills,” says Susana. "I don’t want to tell people what to do… I just want to teach them, share whatever I can do, and if people want to try what I know, they can.”
The Gardens Project is happy to welcome members of the Jesus Christ Fellowship church to our garden this year!
Jessica leads the children's church and is working with some friends to tend to two plots in the Middletown Community garden. Although Jessica has gardened before, she is also working with a friend who is new to the process. "This is her first time using a hose!," she told us, laughing.
They are looking forward to bringing kids into the garden to teach them about how things grow, and to show them home beautiful nature can be.
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.”
This community garden story is told from the perspective of Steph Logsdon, our Community Healthcorps Service Member.
We're in the process of posting all of our old gardener of the month videos up on our website. Check out each garden site to see the people who make Ukiah a healthier, more self reliant community! Below is one of our favorite interviews with South Ukiah Head Start volunteers. Cheers to all who are making the movement happen!
Congratulations to our first Gardener of the Month: Genaro Vega! At The Gardens Project, we know Genaro as The Chili Man, for his knowledge and cultivation of different varieties of chili peppers. Genaro is also the volunteer coordinator at the largest and oldest community garden in Ukiah – the Cleveland Lane Community Garden. To witness the tremendous work Genaro dedicates to this garden and to hear him speak of his respect for chili peppers is truly inspirational. The Gardens Project interviewed Genaro one afternoon and, unsurprisingly, he offered some valuable insight into the world of Ukiah community gardens. To watch the interview, click here.
Do you know someone who should be our next Gardener of the Month? Nominate them! Contact us and tell us why you think they deserve be highlighted.
To see pictures of the Cleveland Lane Community Garden, click here. To see Cleveland Ln. in person, visit it! It’s located behind the Grace Hudson Museum. Here is a map.
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