- Author: Ricardo A. Vela
Mother Nature did her part by offering spectacular weekend weather as if she wanted to participate in the community garden events on Saturday in Riverside. Community members painted the first layer of a colorful mural on a wall bordering the edible garden in an Eastside neighborhood. City Council Member Clarissa Cervantes was one of them.
On behalf of the City of Riverside Acting Project Manager -Neighborhood Engagement Aggie Padilla presented a Small Sparks neighborhood grant to invigorate the community garden at the corner of Sedgwick and Pennsylvania avenues. The 1.5-acre garden is growing healthy food for the residents of this neighborhood of mostly Latinos and African Americans.
Participants began painting the community garden mural, which promotes healthy living, under the supervision of local artist Ron De Cid, known in Southern California for the color and strength of his murals. The mural depicts fresh fruits and vegetables mixed with vivid images of people running, dancing, bicycling, gardening, and engaging in other forms of exercise
The garden has grown thanks to the strong partnership between Riverside Faith Temple and its leader Pastor Duane Sims, and UC Cooperative Extension programs CalFresh Healthy Living and UC Master Gardener.
Sims, volunteers, and UC Cooperative Extension in Riverside have worked on this project since 2019 when Sims began cleaning and leveling the land to make way for the construction of eight elevated planters. Fruits and vegetables were planted in the spring of 2021.
The next phase is to place pavers around the planter boxes. Currently, resources are being sought to install an irrigation system for the community garden. The City of Riverside is considering financing the project.
The benefits of the efforts of the City of Riverside, Faith Temple, UC Master Gardeners, CalFresh Living Healthy, UCCE Riverside, and community organizations are already visible, beautifying the community and making the area more productive for residents.
After the painting and paving are completed, a celebration event is planned at the garden at 6 p.m. on June 30.
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