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Posts Tagged ‘sonoma’

041219-West-Side-Community-Garden

A community garden in New York City.

I’ve been thinking lately how nice it would be if we could get most of our produce from the garden. My husband has provided lettuce this summer and blueberries and tomatoes. Potatoes are coming along. But I do envy people who don’t have to shop for produce at all.

Earle sent this piece from a California organization called LandPaths about how community gardens have gained importance during the pandemic.

“When LandPaths broke ground at Bayer Farm in 2007 and kids from the neighborhood began planting seeds on a neglected plot of land in Roseland, we knew something special was happening. It was obvious in the potlucks that sprung up, followed by cactus, sunflowers, greens, and chickens. It was obvious from the smiles on children’s faces as they traipsed through the garden learning about beneficial insects and compost during IOOBY [In Our Own Back Yard] field trips. It was obvious from the joy and belonging on the faces of neighbors who soon claimed their very own community garden plots, where they were able to grow fresh, culturally relevant, chemical-free food.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact Sonoma County (particularly the Latinx community, which has suffered high rates of the virus due to inequality and dependence on their labor as essential/frontline workers), the value of our community teaching gardens to the physical and mental health of the communities surrounding Bayer Farm and Andy’s Unity Park (AUP) in southwest Santa Rosa has never been more apparent. …

“When County Health Officials first announced orders to close parklands, our staff struggled to figure out a way to allow access to the gardens without compromising safety protocols. New Audiences Manager Omar Gallardo worked with officials from the City of Santa Rosa and County of Sonoma Regional Parks to come up with a plan that would allow the gardeners at Bayer Farm and AUP community garden to continue accessing their plots.

At both locations, this looks like allowing only a specific amount of people to work in the gardens at any given time. Masks and six-feet of social distancing, outside of family groups, were required at all times. …

“The collaboration and ongoing communication with city and county officials and resulting distancing restrictions similar to those in place at grocery stores allowed the gardens to reopen on a limited basis during the second week of shelter-in-place orders. Financial support for on-site staff through funding from the City of Santa Rosa’s Measure O also made this possible.

“The response from the community shows us that this was the right move. On any given day during the pandemic, 17 to 40 people have come to the garden to harvest food throughout the day. …

“LandPaths has also worked throughout the summer with Redwood Empire Food Bank, the City of Santa Rosa, and Sonoma County Regional Parks to continue our free summer lunch program at both gardens. The free summer lunch program is a chance for parents and guardians to pick up free lunches for any kids under the age of 18. …

“In mid-June, at a time when Sonoma County residents that identify as Latinx or Hispanic accounted for 75 percent of the Covid-19 cases, LandPaths hosted residents from UCSF/Sutter Hospital at Bayer Farm. Led by Dr. Michael Valdovinos, the residents and staff from St Joseph health provided information with Spanish translation on the coronavirus, answered questions, and left resources for participants from Roseland. The North Bay Organizing Project provided free masks. …

“Says Omar, ‘Aside from food access, it is a place of healing and mental well-being. People speak of their connection to the land and their connection to what is grown here. A whole generation of youth [have] grown-up in the garden. These cross-generational interactions give the youth a sense of meaning, especially now that they see their parents depending on the garden in another time of community crisis.’ ”

More at LandPaths, here.

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As an inveterate Easterner, currently in California for a family wedding, I’m amazed by this state. I’ve been here before, but I never can get over how different it looks from what I know!

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