Natural Perspectives: Community finally welcomes gardeners

March 16, 2011|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
(Courtesy Lou Murray )

After two years of seemingly endless planning meetings, the Huntington Beach Community Garden is finally going into the ground.

The new organic gardens will be at the end of Atlanta Avenue near Brookhurst Street, under the Southern California Edison power lines.

The ground has been disked and graded, water lines and spigots are installed, and the plots are all laid out. The first gardeners are beginning to work on their gardens. All of the plots will be open and ready for planting soon. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the garden is planned for March 26, and will be attended by major donors, city officials and members of the community garden.

The history of getting a community garden going after the one closed at Golden West College goes back several years. A small group of people tried to get a community garden going about four years ago, but they just didn't have a critical mass of interested people.


It took Joanne Rasmussen and Annette Parsons to round up enough people to finally push this thing through. They carried a petition to get people to express an interest in having a community garden, and took their case to the city. A group began meeting with the city.

City staffers Jim Engle and Dave Dominguez presented several potential parcels to the group for their consideration. Councilman Devin Dwyer pushed hard to make it happen.

The garden group was looking for a place with water, decent soil, accessibility and a quiet atmosphere. And they wanted a long-term lease. They finally settled on some property owned by Edison. Janelle Froisland and Richard Fujikawa of Edison worked hard with the city to negotiate terms of the lease. The city entered into a memorandum of understanding with the garden group and leased the property from the utility.

Meanwhile, the group formed a board of directors, elected officers, developed bylaws and obtained nonprofit status. The group developed an education program and a website,

Through the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Orange County, the group has presented three educational programs that were attended by gardeners from Costa Mesa and Seal Beach as well as our own members. The group has used Facebook to network and attract new members. Word spread, and before we even set foot on the property, all the plots were leased. There is now a waiting list.

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