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Ceres Community Project Moira Chatton Healing Gardens

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Ceres Community Project  
Moira Chatton Healing Gardens  

Photo: Cathryn Couch, Ceres Executive Director, Greg Young, donor and Ceres board member, Padi Selwyn admire garden plaque honoring Moira Chatton, for whom Ceres' gardens have been named.

Moira Chatton Healing Gardens Dedicated at Ceres Community Project 

If you’ve driven west on Bodega Avenue from downtown Sebastopol in the past few months you may have noticed the beautifully landscaped gardens next to the Sebastopol Fire Station. Thanks to a multi-year pledge from long-time Ceres Community Project donor Gregory Young, the gardens at Ceres’ new home have recently been dedicated in memory of his wife, Moira Chatton, who died from cancer eleven years ago this month at the age of 52.

Beginning in 1990, when she and Young moved to Sonoma County from Berkeley, Chatton was a respected voice promoting sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. She chaired the Sierra Club’s Land Use Committee for Sonoma County, and served on the boards of directors of Circuit Rider (now known as The Center for Social and Environmental Stewardship), Community Alliance for Family Farmers (CAFF) and Sonoma County Lighthouse Farm Network, and was a member of the Alexander Valley Farm Bureau. 

As the manager of Chevron’s Gauer Ranch, Chatton was instrumental in keeping the property free of development, eventually brokering its sale to vintner Jess Jackson. “Moira was one of the few people who could bridge the gap between the business community and the environmental community. That’s a rare creature, particularly in Sonoma County where there is a deep divide,” shared long time friend Glenda Humiston shortly after Chatton’s death.

In addition to her environmental work, Chatton volunteered for many causes, including teaching English to farm workers and assisting at the Bird Rescue Center. Says Young, “the extent of her impact, and the number of lives she touched, has been my biggest inspiration as I’ve worked to carry on her legacy of making a difference here in Sonoma County.” A survivor of Hodkins disease as a child, Moira was passionate about life and brought her fierce intellect and commitment to improving the world to every corner of her life.

Young first learned about Ceres Community Project at the end of 2007 when the all- volunteer project was just seven months old. His initial $10,000 donation provided vital support that allowed founder Cathryn Couch to expand the program to two days a week and grow from providing just 4,500 meals for clients dealing with illness in 2007 to delivering more than 17,000 in 2008. Young’s investment in Ceres, which has provided more than 120,000 free meals, engaged 600 teenagers, and inspired projects around the country, now tops $140,000.

“Greg has been our most important partner over the past five years,” says Couch. “His early support allowed us to turn a very important corner, from a fledging volunteer operation to an organization with a plan and a future. Since then, Greg has been there every step of the way. Dedicating the gardens in Moira’s name honors her commitment to ecological stewardship and community service while recognizing Greg’s important role at Ceres.”

The Moira Chatton Healing Gardens are open to the public. Located at Ceres Community Project, 7351 Bodega Avenue in Sebastopol, the gardens feature a beautiful flow-form water feature donated by Bohemian Stoneworks, and a wide variety of edible and medicinal plants. Sections of the garden are wheel chair accessible. For more information about the gardens or Ceres Community Project’s work, visit www.ceresproject.org or call 707-829-5833.

 

Ceres Community Project is a five year old nonprofit organization based in Sebastopol and serving Sonoma and Marin counties. Ceres provides free nourishing meals, emotional support and nutrition education to clients and their families who are dealing with a serious illness such as cancer. Meals are prepared by teen volunteers who learn about growing, cooking and eating healthy fresh foods, gain team and leadership skills, and discover the joy of giving back. Education programs support clients, caregivers, heath professionals and others with knowledge, skills and inspiration about healthy eating. www.ceresproject.org , 7351 Bodega Avenue, Sebastopol, CA 95472. (707) 829-5833.

INFO: Cathryn Couch, Ceres Community Project, cathryn@ceresproject.org, 707-799-7489