Hoping to help sow the seeds for a sustainable nutritional life, County Supervisory Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher, Vice President Nora Vargas, Master Gardeners and County staff on Wednesday opened a new demonstration garden at the county operations center.
Fletcher and Vargas marked the event by planting the first plants – Italian parsley and chrysanthemums – in the garden which was developed by the master gardeners and the county of Live well San Diego Food System Initiative.
The 400 square foot demonstration garden was designed to be a practical example of the goals of the Food System Initiative, to showcase “a bit of everything” to promote home, urban and community gardening, and its link to sustainability. .
In addition to growing seasonal fruits and vegetables, herbs, citrus, a wide variety of popular plants, and even native California plants, the county plans to use the garden as an educational space. There will be classes and workshops to learn more about gardening, composting and other topics related to sustainability and nutrition.
Fletcher and Vargas said that allotment and neighborhood gardens offer a multitude of benefits, ranging from improving the food system and tackling food insecurity, to better nutrition, to creating a sense of community and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
“We can empower communities through food,” said Fletcher, “and bring them together with accessible community gardens. When we can come together to grow our own food, it is not only a rewarding activity, but also huge economic and environmental benefits. I see gardens as an opportunity to build a stronger safety net for all San Diego residents and to create a more inclusive and resilient food and agricultural economy. “
Vargas said the gardens can create a sense of community and promote social engagement among families and neighbors, in addition to giving people the opportunity to get out, lead active lives and connect with nature.
“The power of community gardens, the way they help build the resilience of our communities and not only improve physical and mental health outcomes, especially in food insecure communities, is really powerful.” , said Vargas. “I hope this demonstration garden… will inspire others to plant their own gardens in their neighborhoods.”
The garden features four raised beds, one of which is wheelchair accessible, a demonstration rain barrel and a compost worm bin, and will eventually be watered by a drip irrigation system. It will also feature a container garden, a flowery “pollinator” bed to attract bees, butterflies and ladybugs, and use the county’s existing composting system at the county operations center to recharge the soil in the garden.
There will be signs in multiple languages with gardening and nutrition information, healthy eating resources and even a small free library outside the garden gate.
You can find out more about the garden and its future events on the Demonstration Garden webpage. For more information on the Food System Initiative, visit the website Live well San Diego Food System Initiative webpage.