Written by Angela Lances (News Writer)
A small group of volunteers and friends from the Santa Cruz People’s Kitchen, which is an organization that prepares free meals and distributes them bi-weekly, expanded their collective efforts early this November to include a community garden. The idea was quite spontaneous, becoming a reality within a week after the group first discussed the idea on the day before their Halloween food distribution. The People’s Kitchen had been together distributing food for multiple months, and at this point felt that a garden would be the perfect place to build community and increase the autonomy of the community.
One anonymous member of the People’s Kitchen volunteered the backyard of the duplex they live in to be used as a garden space. They and their roommates were not using the space, and neither were the people living on the other side of the duplex, so it was perfectly available for the project. The group scheduled a day to visit the space to get an idea of what it was like, and were astounded at how large the space was. Angela Landes, a member of the People’s Kitchen and participant in this garden project explains, ¨Not only did the space have numerous large raised beds, but also already came with a shed full of pots and other tools.¨ It was the perfect space to start a new community garden.
A week after the group met at the garden space, they held a sort of potting party to plant the seeds they had chosen to grow. Hundreds of seeds were planted in quart-sized pots and were distributed through the group and wider community using an organizational spreadsheet to keep track of the pots. Once these seedlings grow into larger, hardy plants, they will be transplanted into the ground at the garden site. For now, the gardeners await the sprouting of their seeds, eager to start a new chapter of the community garden.
The group hopes that this new project, along with the People’s Kitchen, will breed a community and connect with other local projects in the city. New groups and new work is beginning in relation to hunger relief and other related issues in Santa Cruz, and these gardeners see their project as a way to connect these networks to further build a strong and resilient community.