In South Pasadena, A Community Garden Sprouts

Published : Thursday, May 7, 2015 | 6:39 PM

Like the long-established 4th of July Festival of Balloons Parade, summer concerts in the park, and a classic car show running up-and-down Mission Street’s historic district, South Pasadena City Councilmember Michael Cacciotti was reminded why people move to South Pasadena while holding onto the handles of a wheelbarrow full of soil Saturday morning.

He had just joined his fellow council members, civic leaders and a long list of dedicated volunteers in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the city’s first-ever community garden. Soon after, in the spirit of the day, Cacciotti, now with shovel in hand, was quickly filling the wheelbarrow with dirt, and wheeling it around while helping individuals fill their garden beds with soil in a gesture of goodwill.

“The creation of a community garden is wonderful,” said Cacciotti, who remembers talking to Caltrans’ Right-of-Way Property Management officials about 10 years ago about the idea of obtaining a piece of property in the city for a community garden. “It has taken that long through perseverance of city staff, council members, volunteers to make it happen.”

Diana Mahmud, South Pasadena’s mayor pro tem, is thrilled that the community garden has come to fruition, noting the effort stepped up three years ago when the City Council and a determined group of volunteers got behind the project.

“I’m especially pleased that it was completed in time for residents to do spring planting,” she said. “Now with the increased focus on what goes into our mouth and what kind of elements our food is exposed to, I think it is so important for our residents to be able to have the opportunity to grow there own food. Now they can and I look forward to future opportunities to establish other community gardens in our city.”

To get off the ground, the concept of a community garden went before an Ad Hoc committee, followed by steering committee before winding up in the hands of a garden committee that gained support from city staff and members of the City Council.

“It’s just another example of how our community gets together,” said Mahmud. “And it’s such a special community.”

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