- Author: Michele Martinez
From the outset, Christy was not shy about getting her hands dirty. In the training, she says, “I did my presentation on vermicomposting. Then I gave the worm presentation at the Herbivore Festival at Crafton Hills College.” With a strong interest in community gardening, Christy soon joined Highland's Giving Garden located at Highland Congregational Church. Founded in 2016 by Tracy Powell, the group includes Master Gardener, Jerry Poupard, and his wife, Robin. “Highland's Giving Garden has 24 raised beds," says Christy. “Twelve are rented by community members and 10% of our harvest must be donated to someone.” Produce from the other 12 beds goes to the food banks in Redlands and San Bernardino. "We also have a small orchard," Christy adds, "and all that produce also goes to the food banks.”
Through the online community, Christy got involved with a plant-trader's group. Connecting with Inland Empire Plant Traders on Facebook, Christy meets up with the group every other month. “People bring different plants to give away,” she says. “Some bring other things, like jam to trade. One lady brings eggs. We save our egg cartons for her.” Through this network, Christy's learned to grow sugar cane (”It grows year-round!”), and she's learning about new plants shared by members, like Asian Pennywort (Centella asiatica), originally from Vietnam. “The lady uses it in salads and green drinks.”
Learning is an important part of Christy's life as a gardener. This year she was accepted in Huerta del Valle's pilot New Farmer Training Program (NFTP). The seven-month course explores regenerative farming, food equity, community-building, and a full spectrum of urban farm management topics through presentations, field trips, and hands-on activities. Students who complete the training will be eligible to apply to Huerta's Farm Incubator Program, where they'll have the opportunity to receive subsidized access to land, equipment, and technical assistance as they launch projects under Huerta del Valle's supervision and mentorship.
Master Gardeners find opportunities to work with partnering organizations, like the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District (IERCD), where we have dozens of shared projects. Christy explains, “I was in the first cohort of the Riverside Food Rescue & Waste Prevention Ambassador Program. We met five times and learned about various aspects of food rescue and waste prevention. At the end of the classes we had to do a community project and volunteer hours. I volunteered with Gleaners for Good. We collected citrus from community members and delivered it mostly to Feeding America Riverside/San Bernardino And I gave a vermicomposting talk at the Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District (RCRCD)."
Whether you are new to Master Gardeners, or a seasoned veteran, you surely want to make a difference. Why not take a page from Christy Gray's playbook? Find the heart of community through its gardens - and the people who tend them. Below is a list of community garden projects across the County, compiled by Robin Rowe of Master Gardeners. Thanks Christy, for the inspiration.
Community Gardens in San Bernardino County (February, 2019)
Huerta del Valle, 831 Belmont St. Ontario 91761. Huerta del Valle Contact: (English) email@example.com or (Spanish) firstname.lastname@example.org (note that, in addition to the Huerta del Valle organization, there are several other non-profits that have plots at this site and sponsor programming).
Earth to Fork Garden (Caramel Connections Foundation) has a plot at Huerta del Valle. Grows produce to give to the community. Sponsors Saturday morning talks for the community on gardening, nutrition and cooking topics. Contact: Elizabeth McSwain (909) 697-9017, CCFevents2018@gmail.com
Montclair Community Garden, 9500-9574 Ramona Ave. Montclair 91763. Contact: City of Montclair 909-626-8571
Incredible Edibles, 740 W. 26th St., Upland. Contact: Mary Petit 909-262-1855
Rolling Ridge Elementary School, Chino Hills. Contact: Marissa_Lovato@chino.k12.ca.us, Stacy_Colby@chino.k12.ca.us , Anne_Whyte@chino.k12.ca.us. 909-628-9375.
Cucamonga Christian Fellowship, 11376 Fifth Street, Rancho Cucamonga. MG Contact: Michael Painter, email@example.com
***Community Garden at Anne Shirells Park in San Bernardino is being developed by the Akoma Unity Center partnering with the city Parks and Rec Dept. Contact: Micah@akomaunitycenter.org 909-217-7956 (MG Valerie Dobesh has been working with them).
***Benjamin E. Jones Community Resource Center, Located at 2972 California St. San Bernardino, CA. Contact: Pastor Paul Jones (909) 296-1233 www.BEJCRC.org is planning a community garden with raised beds to open this spring. (MG Valerie Dobesh has been working with them).
Riverside /San Bernardino County Indian Health Inc. has a Community Garden at 11980 Mt. Vernon Ave, Grand Terrace. Contact: Valerie Dobesh
San Bernardino Community Garden at 6th and Pedley St, San Bernardino
Veterans Exploration Garden, Speicher Memorial Park, 2501 Pacific Street, San Bernardino. Contact: Richard Valdez at DAVcal.org
City of Rialto Community Gardens. Contact: 909-421-7222 (MGs Tim and Lynn Brown Summers)
- At Grace Lutheran Church, 539 N. Acacia Ave., Rialto
- At Bud Bender Park, 235 N. Lilac Ave., Rialto
Highland's Giving Garden, 3606 Atlantic Ave. Highland, 92346. http://www.highlandsgivinggarden.org Contact:Tracey Powell, 909-518-5056 (MGs Jerry Poupard and Christy L. Gray)
City of Redlands 3 Gardens run by the Community Center:
Smiley Garden, 1210 W. Cypress, Redlands
Clement Garden, 501 E. Pennsylvania, Redlands
Lugonia Garden, East of Texas St between Lugonia and Pennsylvania
Yucaipa Community Garden, at the Green Valley Village Senior Apartments, 34955 Yucaipa Blvd, Yucaipa. (MGs: Jillian Kowalczuk and Adam Wagner)
Loma Linda Community Garden on Van Leuven (largely vacant… needs someone to take an interest)
Victoria SDA Church, 1860 Mountain View Ave. Loma Linda. Contact: Tom 909-556-8801
Seeds of Hope School Garden, Redlands High School. Contact: MG Connie Kevari
Peggy Christian Memorial Garden, 1102 Chestnut Ave, Redlands. Contact Paul Dickau, Helping Hands Pantry, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phelan Community Center, Sheep Creek Road, MG Michelle Hannon. 760-912-5779
Physician Health Cooperative Corp. 16245 Desert Knoll Drive, Victorville. 760-955-9555. Contact: Kim Ammerman, MG Trainee and Administrator at PHCC.
School Garden at Desert Knolls Elementary School. Contact: Valerie Kimmel-Oliva
School Garden at Phelan Elementary School. (Doug Arnold knows of this)
Rim of the World Rec and Park District Community Garden at Mountain Communities Senior/Community Center, 675 Grandview Drive, Twin Peaks 909-337-7275
Big Bear Community Garden Project has 2 gardens:
“China Gardens” at 42050 Fox Farm Road, Beg Bear Lake
“The Ranch Community Garden” on Lakewood in Erwin Lake Contact: 909-866-9700 or bbvcgp.weebly.com
*** Gardens being built and to be finished spring 2019/span>