March 24, 2008

Community garden creates urban opportunity

By Nick Spain

The Grain Project

The Grain Project is honored to have been asked by the city of Santa Ana Parks, Recreation and Community Services Agency and KaBOOM! to design, plan, and help build a community garden at Jerome Park in conjunction with the Cesar Chavez Day of Service. This garden will be the first of its kind established in a Santa Ana city park. The decision to create the Jerome Park garden project recognizes the need for ready access to fresh, flavorful and nutritious, locally-produced fruits and vegetables. This comes at a time when our food comes from increasingly distant locations; when "factory farming" has turned much of what we eat into a commodity to be bought and sold, rather than savored and enjoyed; and where the systematic over-processing of basic food items has resulted in health threats for young and old alike.

Local community gardens offer an opportunity for neighborhoods and residents to once again connect with the essential human experience of producing one's own food in a context of comfort and familiarity where neighbors, friends, and family can work together in a common pursuit. One especially exciting aspect of the Jerome Park "edible garden" is the cross-section of potential gardeners: young, old, faith-based, recent immigrants, and natives. The immediate proximity to two schools, a church with one of the city's largest memberships, a senior center, and a community center present tremendous opportunities for bridging gaps, mentoring, and community building.

The community garden will enhance the existing park and surrounding community by bringing together food, nutrition, open space and community partnership. KaBOOM! and the city of Santa Ana, through this joint effort, will help contribute towards a new era of sustainable urban living: bonding people, land, and communities together in a way where we all have a personal investment in the food we eat and the place where it comes from.

kaboom! news, cesar chavez day, california