The Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy today announced that it has awarded $7,000 in grants supporting community-based organizations that expand public and student access to and knowledge of gardening, particularly fruit and vegetable gardening, in Pasadena.
The grant recipients include: Arlington Garden, La Casita Del Arroyo, the Muir Ranch student community garden at John Muir High School, Pasadena Community Garden, and the Roots & Shoots childrensâ€™ community garden project at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.
â€œEach of these organizations is reaching deeply into the community to bring new people into gardening, especially food gardening, while also inspiring all Pasadenans through innovation and design,â€ said Eileen White Read, the Conservancyâ€™s President and one of its founders. â€œA visit to Arlington Garden inspires residents to plant a Mediterranean herb garden and fruit trees, while â€“ thanks to Pasadena Garden Club members â€“ La Casita is an open-air classroom for water-wise gardening and butterfly gardening. John Muir students have taught our entire city how harmoniously the terms â€˜urbanâ€™ and â€˜farmâ€™ can coexist, and Pasadena Community Garden is bringing 60 diverse city families onto a lot that was once part of Gov. Henry Markhamâ€™s historic ranch to learn to grow their own food.â€
Read added, â€œThe Conservancy is especially pleased to make a grant to the Roots & Shoots community garden project at the Arboretum, in honor of our own Trustee Susan Kranwinkle, who was one of the founders of Roots & Shoots in 1994.â€
Mrs. Kranwinkle, an avid gardener, chef, and cookbook author, co-founded the Roots & Shoots project to help teach students where their food comes from. Today, the Roots & Shoots project serves 75 Pasadena-area students each year from schools including Willard Elementary, the Frostig Center, and the Gooden School. The students till the soil in the Arboretumâ€™s childrenâ€™s community garden twelve to fourteen times each year, growing fruits and vegetables and learning to cook with them during visits to the Arboretum from guest chefs.
Each grant announced today by the Conservancy provides a $1,000 unrestricted cash donation, with the exception of the grant to Pasadena Community Garden at 720 S. Pasadena Ave., which receives a $3,000 Community Access Grant to underwrite five scholarships for families residing in â€œfood desertâ€ areas north of the 210 Freeway far from grocery stores. Scholarships will cover garden membership for two years, along with plants and supplies.
Last year, more than 30 longtime Pasadena leaders came together to found the Conservancy, with a goal of providing long-term stewardship for community gardens as cultural, educational, and nutritional resources for Pasadenans as our city becomes increasingly urban. The majority of Pasadenans currently reside in multi-family housing, rather than freestanding houses with separate, private gardens, making community gardens increasingly desirable. In addition to grantmaking, members of the Conservancy provide advocacy and support to the city of Pasadena and its Public Health Department towards a joint goal of building and maintaining community gardens at several of the cityâ€™s public parks, modeled after the community garden at Altadenaâ€™s Loma Alta County Park, which has been thriving since 1984. Community gardens in public parks could take advantage of existing restrooms, electricity, irrigation systems, meeting spaces, and lighting.