in this Issue
Our Community Gardens Grow But They Need Your Help. Please Sign Our Petition and make your voice heard.
By Judith Jacoby
In the weeks since the first Community Garden Network Meeting in February, many exciting events have taken place. The steering committee has been meeting every two weeks and is working on developing the organization. Even at this stage, we are attracting attention.
On March 25, Community Gardens were the subject of Citizen’s for Century 3’s monthly breakfast panel. Moderated by Stephen Hill, policy advisor for Councilman Todd Gloria, the members of the panel include Diane Moss of the People’s Produce Project, Amy Lint from the International Rescue Committee, Carla Blackmoor, City of Chula Vista and Judy Jacoby, Master Gardener. Lots of ideas and support were generated, as opportunities seem to be appearing everywhere.
Possibilities for new gardens in Spring Valley, Southeast San Diego, City Heights and La Mesa are taking shape as public officials from the Unified School District, San Diego Parks and Recreation, and members of local government reach out to us.
On another front, this month the San Diego Dept of Health and Human Services was awarded more than $16 million dollars by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention to collaborate with community groups working to increase physical activity, improve accessibility to nutritious food and reduce obesity. A piece of that grant is earmarked for the development of school and community gardens, demonstration/teaching gardens and farmers markets throughout the county.
In the City of San Diego the biggest challenge for community gardens is permitting. The process, recently spelled out in an information bulletin, requires a $5,000 dollar deposit, an unknown total cost and a process of uncertain complexity. Plus permits are available only in limited areas of the City.
While the City’s Land Use and Housing Chairman continues to work with us to make more gardens a reality, there are significant hurtles. We are advocating allowing community gardens by right within the city of San Diego and the development of our network to provide technical assistance, education and guidance to new and established community gardens. Our work would assure the gardens are sustainable and make a positive contribution to the quality of the neighborhoods in which they are located.
Please sign our online Petition “Make San Diego Community Garden Friendly” at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/cg1inten/petition.html or go to the Community Garden Page of the Master Gardener Website, www.mastergardenerssandiego.org.