Salinas Launches First Public Community Garden
July 10, 2012
A 22-by-33-foot sliver of Central Park next to Hartnell College is just a patch of dirt now, but it took $4,500 and hours of volunteer effort to get there.
Two families are members of this community garden, and for $25 a year have bought themselves space to plant flowers and vegetables—and the responsibility to maintain the plot, and prove out this pilot program to see if community gardening on city property works.
"It can be a point of reference for all the other community gardens," says Berniz House, a graduate of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce Foundation's class, Leadership Salinas Valley. The garden was House's class project, and stuck with the public-private partnership with support from City Councilman Steve McShane and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Brian Higgins.
Volunteer hours bolstered House's budget, a $1,000 Community Development Block Grant and $3,500 in private donations.
"Some of the main missions of the garden are to offer a wholesome and educational activity to residents by stimulating social interaction, as well as promoting the agricultural roots that are so important to the Salinas Valley," House says.
She hopes that the city uses the Central Park garden as a blueprint for future plots.
An opening ceremony is scheduled for 5pm on Monday, July 16. House isn't expecting much to be growing by then, but access for the gardeners opened today so there might at least be some seedlings.