Established in 2009 on California’s historic Mare Island, a primary goal of Vallejo People’s Garden (VPG) is to provide disadvantaged individuals with a source of locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables. As of December 2013, over 9,178 pounds of produce has been donated to various organizations that service individuals below the federal poverty level. VPG emerged through collaborative efforts between a local, enterprising resident, a federal agency and the Global Center for Success (GCS). The 6,500 square foot organic garden is filled with citrus trees, a variety of herbs and vegetables, a vermiculture box and a greenhouse, as well as a hydroponic system. All materials and supplies used to construct the garden’s 20 raised beds, two ADA accessible beds, fences, pathways, and other structures, originated from locally sourced lumber and recycled materials.
In addition, VPG realizes the importance of nutrition education for adults and children; consequently, gardening knowledge and skills are shared with the greater community in several ways. Free workshops are routinely held, some on Sundays when the garden is open to the public with a volunteer present to answer questions. A nutrition class instructing GCS clients to incorporate more healthy food into their diet and teaching them the valuable life-skill of how to grow an organic, sustainable garden, empowering them to become self-reliant, occurs weekly. Youth from Vallejo high schools fulfill community hours by volunteering at the garden.
Furthermore, nearby Touro University graduate students volunteer at VPG. While they do assist in educating GCS clients, among other community members, they also learn beneficial gardening knowledge and skills from garden-proficient VPG board members. Upon graduation, these diverse university students return to their home communities throughout the nation and worldwide where, in-turn, they can disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills; thus, “sowing it forward”.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA