Community Gardens Sprout Up Around Town

May 10, 2009 12:39:16 PM PDT
A hardened economy has forced one local gardening group to employ a simple method to keep food on the table. Activists are trying to draw the community closer while helping save a few bucks.Forget fancy modern technology.

It's meditative. It puts you in a trance," said one gardener.

These hands on Fresno gardeners are combating a slumping economy and environmental concerns, one seed at a time.

"This is getting you out of your house and doing something that's gonna make a difference," said Gardener Clare Pitton.

"Where do you go for nutritious food that you can afford? It's got to be right here in your neighborhoods. This is the solution," said Josh Trevino, organizer of the Community Garden Coalition.

Trevino's latest project: taking an old dirt parking lot in the Tower District and using it to nourish families in the area.

"It will probably take about 2 years to come to complete fruition," said Trevino.

There are over 40 different community gardens in Fresno. Some are on private land, others in parks and more than half are at area schools.

This is the Hmong garden in Southeast Fresno. Now, a lot of controversy has surrounded this area because police will build a new substation on this land. But Josh Trevino said that's alright. The garden will be relocated to an area better suited for its people.

Trevino said, "It will be used as a teaching opportunity to encourage soil restoration techniques and permiculuture techniques that can be used sustainably."

The new Hmong garden is located at Al Radka park one mile east of the present garden. But it is open to anyone who wants to plant and sow. It is even complete with dozens of water stations.

And the concept of community gardens is gaining momentum.

Former Fresno councilmember Brian Calhoun presented these images of a garden outside city hall's front lawns after seeing First Lady Michelle Obama's garden at the White House.

"This is will the place for the squash to go in," said one gardener digging away. Trevino hopes this garden will help cultivate a better community.

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