Growing Resiliency

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.”


From 2007 to 2017: A decade of community gardens and the future promises more!

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 Garden


Sharing the Bounty 2014

Created with flickr slideshow.

The 5th annual Sharing the Bounty fundraiser for The Gardens Project of NCO held at Saracina Vineyards this past Saturday, September 13th was a huge success. The event raised $10,000 for developing school and community gardens. Over 75 community members were treated to a unique and delicious 4 course meal prepared by local chefs: All food and wines for the event were donated by local farms and wineries, then presented to the chefs to create unique the unique flavors of our county. Dinner was served overlooking the olive orchard, vineyards and mountains of the Sanel Valley of Hopland. A huge thank you to John Fetzer and Patty Rock for donating their space at Saracina for the event.

Additionally, a tremendous thank you to the following individuals and businesses that made the event possible by donating their labor and products, thus helping create a resilient and accessible local food system in Mendocino County and beyond:

The wineries and winemakers that provided the supreme libations for the evening: Husch Vineyards, Roederer Estates, Alex MacGregor and Saracina/Atrea, Simaine Cellars and DNA Vineyards. The foundation of our local food movement, the farmers and producers: The Apple Farm , Aqua Gardens Family Farm, Black Dog Farm, Black Oak Coffee Roasters, Brookside School Farm, Cathy Monroe Apples, California Balsamic, Carson and Bees, Cinnamon Bear Farm, Covelo Organics, Elmer's Orchards, Grange Farm School, Green Uprising at Blackberry Bend, Live Power Community Farm, Mendocino Grain Project, Mendocino Organics, Seely Farm Stand, Schat's Bakery, Stella Cadente Olive Oil Company and Tres Bien.

Special thanks also go to our volunteers from Community HealthCorps. Thompson's Party Rentals for giving us a great discount, Ukiah Natural Foods and Raley's for material support, Marcos Pereda for his great music, and Moira Evans for leading dinner service.

We live in an amazing community and are grateful to all for sharing the bounty to help us build school and community gardens.

Missed the event, but still want to help?

See you at Sharing the Bounty 2015.

Give a Growing Gift

Are you proud to be living in a county where healthy, garden-fresh produce is abundant and available? We sure are!

Join NCO’s Gardens Project
in empowering community by making a tax deductable donation to support our efforts to build a healthy future, one garden at a time.

Your donation will go directly into the infrastructure needed to develop and sustain community and school gardens, as well as provide skill training and garden nutrition education.

Donate $25 or more before December, 31st and we’ll send you an awesome Gardens Project sticker you can sport on your water bottle, car bumper or notebook!

Donate $100 or more and we’ll send you a sticker PLUS a Gardens Project T-shirt! (We’ll contact you for your size and color choice).

See the network of 75 Mendocino county gardens on our interactive map!

You can also contribute by liking us on Facebook and subscribing to our Real Dirt Blog on our website.

Thank you for supporting community and school gardens in Mendocino and Lake Counties!

Junior Academy Students Dig In!

This week, 20 enthusiastic students from Ukiah's Junior Acadamy donated their time and effort to help give Woodlands Apartment Garden a Spring cleaning!

With the sun shining and the air unseasonably warm, it was a perfect day to tackle stubborn Bermuda Grass and spread wood chips.

A big thank you to the hard workers at Junior Acadamy!
Click here for more photos of Woodlands Garden.

Thanks Gardens Project!

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!

We Ran the Ranch!

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.

A big thanks to all who came out to support the Garden's Project!
Thank you to all who made this event possible:

-Our wonderful volunteers: Lauryn Ringwood, Lucy Shapiro, Jessica Ohland, Kristin Cutler, and Elizabeth Archer!

United Way's Day of Caring

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!

Happy Fifth Anniversary Gardens Project of NCO!

This week marks 5 years of building community, health, and resilience with The Gardens Project of North Coast Opportunities' Community Action Agency. With the tremendous support of you, our community, we have accomplished so much:
  • 24 New Gardens - comprising a diverse mix of 6 Head Start and State Preschool Gardens, 3 elementary school and youth gardens, 7 community gardens, 3 tribal gardens, 4 family and senior apartment gardens, and the Plowshares Peace and Justice Garden.
  • A Gardens Network supporting 68 school and community gardens in Mendocino County
  • A vibrant corps of new community leaders, transforming our landscape, our eating habits, and our economy.
What do these numbers represent? A culture shift of long lasting impact. In the month of June, we developed 4 new gardens in Ukiah (2 community gardens with 81 plots and 2 apartment gardens with 35 plots). Within weeks, all the community garden plots were taken and now have waiting lists. There is a literal unmet hunger to reconnect to community and food production in our county.

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!

Join The Gardens Project in our anniversary celebration of Mendocino County's Community and School Garden Movement. Step into a garden, meet the gardeners, start a garden, support garden development and donate!

Building a Cob Kitchen

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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