Aug 30, 2018
by Carol Russell
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead
Margaret Mead would probably have agreed that there is no place better to start changing the world than our own community. Local action and commitment cannot only bring positive change close to home, it can also build support for national and even global change.
The story of Cloverdale’s Community Garden is a great example demonstrating how individuals, community organizations, businesses and local government can work together to realize their common goal of providing an organic, water-wise, and pesticide-free gardening opportunity.
In 2012, our Senior Center and volunteer Marni Granger were at the forefront of creating a true “Community Garden oasis” by repurposing an acre of land for lease at 126 S. Cloverdale Boulevard to bring relaxing beauty to our busy downtown plus a fresh food resource.
No wonder that a significant cross-section of our community supported the change. Residents donated bushes and flowers. High school students cleared the land. The cooperative landowners and other businesses made financial and in-kind donations to provide everything from compost to liability insurance to a solar system supplying the Garden’s well with electricity for its water pumps.
The acre literally came alive as its fifteen very affordable plots were snapped up and the generous gardeners shared their bounty with their community.
Then, in June 2017, the Garden was closed due to a range of challenges. The solar system was stolen, problems with the reduced capacity of the small well due to the drought arose among other issues that came to light, including problems with obtaining liability insurance.
About 18 months ago, Holly Nelson retired from her profession as EMT for the San Francisco Fire Department. One of our “thoughtful, committed citizens”, she began looking for something to reconnect her with the peacefulness of nature. Noticing the Garden, she obtained a plot and began growing flowers. Holly found herself not only connecting with nature, she also found the relaxing, peaceful, and creative aspects of our community. Alas, this was short lived—the Garden had to close.
Unwilling to let herself and our community lose all that she and others had found, Holly took the initiative and began working with the Wise family, who owned the acreage, and Ron Pavelka, President of the Chamber of Commerce, which had been actively involved in preserving the Garden in the recent past.
The end result of their combined efforts is that the necessary insurance has been obtained, the City of Cloverdale has connected the Garden to its water system, and a lease/contract has been signed, establishing the Chamber as administrator of the Garden.
In June of 2018, the Garden reopened to the 2017 gardeners. A full reopening is projected for Spring 2019. It’s not too early to contact Holly (firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-385-9394) to learn more and/or reserve your place in the Garden where a 10’x10’ plot is $40 per year and a 10’x20’ is $80 per year!
With the Cloverdale Community Garden reopening, thanks to a “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens”, Holly can once again return to her flowers, the veggies grown here will once again feed families with the excess being donated to the Senior Center Produce Market*, visitors can once again stop in for picnics, and, once again, we Cloverdalians can drop by, sit, relax, and connect with nature.
*Visit the Senior Center Produce Market on Fridays 10-11 a.m. (All ages welcome!)
More family fun and relaxation starts with the Classic Car Cruise up Cloverdale Boulevard on Friday night, September 7th (7 p.m.) with music/dancing in the Plaza at 7:30 p.m.
Start Saturday with a Pancake Breakfast (8a.m.-noon), including eggs/sausage and more (Adults 10+ $7; Children 5-10 yrs. $3.50; Under 5 Free) at the Multi-purpose Senior Center (311 North Main)
Stroll the display of 200+ historic vehicles on Cloverdale Boulevard 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. These works of art show us advances in engineering and technology as well as what we have lost in joyful esthetics.
Saturday night music begins at 7:30 p.m. with the Department of Rock bringing “all dance rock“ to our Downtown Plaza stage.
For full information on the show, go to: cloverdalecarshow.com
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