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Natural Perspectives: Community garden start grows nearer

September 15, 2010|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
(Courtesy Lou Murray )

Vic and I are excited to report that the reality of a community garden in Huntington Beach is drawing ever closer. On Wednesday, the membership of the community garden group is meeting at 7 p.m. at the Lake Park Clubhouse at Lake and 12th streets to assign garden plots.

Unlike the now defunct community garden that used to be at Goldenwest College, the planned garden at the end of Atlanta Street is a partnership between the city of Huntington Beach and the Huntington Beach Community Garden group. The land is owned by Southern California Edison. All that is needed is for the city and Edison to come to an agreement on how much the city will pay to lease the land. We're expecting that the agreement will occur later this month.

Interest in a community garden has been high, and the original 77 plots were reserved very quickly. With another 27 people already on a waiting list, the garden committee redesigned the layout to accommodate 110 plots. That means that there may still be a few plots available.

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The majority of the plots will be 15-by-20-feet, but a few corner half-size plots are also available. The fee for plots is $100 a year, plus a $100 deposit that is returned when a gardener gives up his or her plot and leaves it in a good, weed-free condition. The fee for smaller plots is less than for full-sized plots.

The mission of the garden group is a good one. Their purpose is to educate people about organic gardening, as well as to provide an area where people can grow fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs for their own use and for local food banks. Members will be encouraged to plant a row for the hungry and donate food to local charities. In these uncertain economic times, that is a worthy mission.

Many of the garden club members are elderly, unemployed, under-employed or disabled. This is a group of people who are the least able to financially support the installation of the new community garden's infrastructure. That's why the group needs the help of the whole community to get this garden up and running.

I've been working on both the operations and fundraising committees of the garden group. The closer we get to opening, the more detailed the operations plans become and the more finely tuned the budget gets. We will need $60,000 for materials and labor to get the gates of the garden open to gardeners.

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