With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us the entire HdV family would like to express its sincerest and most gracious thanks to all the different organizations, businesses, schools, and countless volunteers that have helped us transform a simple idea of starting a community garden into the amazing organization it is today!
The City of Ontario, Jerry Blum, Karen Thompson, Cathy Wahlstrom, Rudy Zeledon, and the entire City of Ontario Planning Dept., Ontario Public Works, Kaiser Permanente, Pitzer College, Susan Phillips, Lucy Block, Pitzer Student Volunteers, Pitzer in Ontario program, Ontario community volunteers, The Wheelhouse, Max Estela, Gina Lamb and Media Arts for Social Justice, Armeda, Tony and the crew at Dorothy Quesada Community Center, DQ TAC Program, De Anza Park and Teen Center, Gabriel and the whole Unity Farm family, Kathy Yep, STEP, The Soakai family, Aurelio and Fence R us, Borg Produce, La Verne Brewing Co, Inland Empire Regional Composting Authority, California Arbor Care, Carniceria del Valle, Super King Grocery, Claremont Craft Ale, Reach Out, Jossie Gaytan, Storage Valet, Harnisch Tree Care, Bing and the Heritage Farmers Market Family, Kids Come First, Carrie Hempel, Anees Naime, John Bridge, and UCI School of Law, Community Rights Campaign and Bus Riders Union, Elayna Tillman, Kathy Cabrera, the PEOC and Encuentros, Tijuana Tacos, Salpicon Restaurant, Marie Callender’s, Taqueria Tamazula Lindo, Growing Power, Our School at Blair Grocery, Communities for a Better Environment, Jesse Meisler- Abramson, Eddie and Media Services at Pitzer College, Eastside Café, Chet and Leon Corcos, Harvey Mudd College, Don Raphael and anybody else who helped us out with donations, volunteered time, or even just moral support- we are so thankful that you are a part of the HdV family!!
As part of the HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) initiative the city of Ontario in partnership with HDV is planning to bring a farmers market to communities in the HEAL zone very soon. This is exciting news for the city but even more so to HdV since the farmers market will be at Bon View Park, which is extremely close to the garden- giving market goers another opportunity to really embody what HEAL is all about. The city of Ontario and HDV have been working with Heritage Farmers Market who already have markets in Rancho Cucamonga and Compton to lead the way. HdV first introduced Heritage Farmers Market into the mix February at the HEAL zone kick off. Since then we have been constructing a solid relationship (and friendship) with the organization. Recently the Heritage group had a chance to sit with HdV members and discuss different strategies that they thought would make the upcoming Farmers Market a success. Community members were unanimous in three suggestions 1. Make it an event the WHOLE family can enjoy- serve food, have music, maybe even a jumper; 2. Remember that pricing is a key factor- keep prices reasonable/ affordable. This could mean working with farmers who are not organic certified, but are committed to organic practices; and 3. Have cooking demonstration and information about the food so that the market is a learning experience. The Farmers Market, or should we say “Community Market,” is planned to start in March 2014. We will post more information as it comes in.
Just because the weather has cooled down (significantly) doesn’t mean that HdV has slowed down. New projects and community happenings are still occurring almost daily at the garden. Our produce variety has definitely shifted gears with lots of gardeners harvesting various kinds of squashes, pumpkins, gourds, and corn in all different colors. Although we won’t open any new phases until the New Year the plots we have now are thriving giving us a chance to focus a little more on the development of the intensive growing area. Just recently we received a very generous donation of strawberries along with a “strawberry planting lesson” from Don Raphael who owns a strawberry field just up the road (Euclid and the 60fwy) from the garden.
The lesson was a wonderful learning experience that now we can share with current and future garden members- BIG thanks to Don Raphael for the great gift!! Also, the youth program continues to grow strong by adding new members, developing different learning techniques, and focusing on youth empowerment. Be sure to check out their event on SATURDAY DEC. 14th here at the garden from 1pm- 4pm. If you haven’t been around the garden lately- come by! There are always things to do and we’d love to have you! And if you’re a garden regular, thanks for keeping the project going strong!
Another month… another great community meeting! HdV recently hosted its monthly community meeting to a fantastic turnout! This month's meeting was all about communication- inside and outside of the garden. Garden members participated in discussions on how to communicate their needs more effectively while simultaneously being aware of others needs. There was a lovely “real life” open forum where garden members recalled situations when they felt they were misunderstood and collectively thought of solutions to prevent such mishaps in the future, as well as actively participated in an awesome presentation on non-violent communication that will help strengthen relationships within the organization as well as out. Using their newfound communication skills garden members broke off into groups and collaboratively designed images of what they would like the garden education area/ learning center to look like. Each group then presented their ideas and why they felt each element was important. HdV will keep the images- to make sure various ideas are implemented into the education area design when the time comes.
As a special treat, the dinner for this month's meeting was made primarily from produce from the garden! Black beans, pinto beans, squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, corn, and many more delicious flavors warmed our hearts as well as our stomachs.
BIG thanks to all of the new faces that made it out to the meeting this month! And a reminder to everybody that our next meeting will be on DEC 20th with special guest speaker- Jose Calderon, PhD who specializes in urban community development, race and ethnic relationships, and urban political sociology. Mark your calendars this is going to be great!!
Over these last couple month HdV members have been making their way around the nation spreading the word about our awesome organization as well as making meaningful network connections that are sure to help HdV develop further as we continue to grow. In July garden Manager, Maria had the opportunity to visit Growing Power, a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee, WI that inspires communities to build sustainable food systems that are equitable and ecologically sound. Maria had a chance to check out their MASSIVE compost heaps as well as learn about aquaponic systems that would be great to consider for HdV.
In October Maria hit the road again heading to Taos, NM with Ru for the Growing Food and Justice Initiative. This was an AWESOME 4 day conference that hosted many food justice organizations from around the country. HdV was able to make lots networking connections with organizations who know exactly what we’re going through since they were there at some point in their development too!
In early November Marcy headed over to New Orleans, LA to check out Our School at Blair Grocery, a Growing Power regional training center focused on youth empowerment and sustainable community development. Marcy had a chance to interact with the youth volunteers and discuss the benefits (and challenges) of having animals on the farm- something that we have been considering for HdV. And just a couple weeks ago Maria, Arthur, Marcy and a group of HdV gardeners facilitated a special presentation at Pitzer College- for the Pomona Equal Opportunity Center’s weekly Encuentros meeting. This was a great opportunity for HdV to share some of our own experiences with the day laborers from the PEOC that are just starting up their own garden to promote sustainability.
HdV members have definitely learned a lot these last couple months and have no doubt been inspired tremendously by projects around the country. For now we’re going to stay local and tend our winter squash but we hope next year brings us many more opportunities to learn and share.
Last week HdV hosted a special event at the garden with the Soakai family (garden members) and the STEP organization. Kathy Yep, a professor at Pitzer College along with students from Pitzer and Pomona College volunteered their Saturday afternoon with HdV members to facilitate the event. The focus at the event was all about healthy eating through cultural integration. The Soakai family and STEP have plots at the garden where they grow a variety of traditional Tongan staples such as taro, yams, onions, and papayas. The Tongan community in the area is interested in tackling health issues within their community, as well as introducing cultural education, community organizing workshops, and tutoring sessions. At the event guests were informed about the importance of Tongan cultural foods, participated in gardening activities to promote an active lifestyle, and even took a garden tour. Thank you to the Soakai family, STEP, and Kathy Yep for letting HdV be a part of this awesome event!