Gardens Project Needs Your Support

Gardens Project provided more services than ever in 2020, despite reduced staffing, social distancing, and without holding our annual fundraiser.

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Gardens Project provided more services than ever in 2020, despite reduced staffing, social distancing, and without holding our annual fundraiser.

Keep Gardens Project Growing

The ubiquitous challenges of 2020 proved the value of our local community gardens more than ever before. In times of high stress, community gardeners turned to their plots for horticultural therapy. Socially distant community connections in the gardens were coveted. Many people lost income and relied on their plots to maintain access to affordable, fresh, organic produce. To maintain strong immune systems, gardeners grew hot peppers, chamomile, garlic, and additional medicinal herbs. When our local, state, and global food systems were markedly less dependable; In the spirit of hope and innovation, people were driven to pick up their shovels and cultivate their own security.

At the outset of the pandemic, we recognized the need to maintain access to community garden plots and garden produce for all gardeners across both counties, without compromising on safety. We quickly and effectively established safety protocol for garden use and shared it in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Nepalese to all gardeners. We distributed disinfectant and more than 31,000 reusable cotton masks to gardeners throughout the Gardens Project network, and offered support to keep every community gardener growing. When inevitably community gardeners fell ill, fellow gardeners came together to drop off produce harvested from their plots to help them effectively isolate. When one gardener passed away from COVID-19 this past summer, their bed was established as a memorial and planted with flowers.

We are proud of our success in supporting gardeners through the pandemic while knowing that in pursuit of a more just and sovereign food system, we must be constantly thinking critically, strategically, and humbly about how our work impacts BIPOC communities. As an organization rooted in environmental justice, considerations of race, class, and other socially stratified indicators are a moral imperative. We continue to work on diversity, equity, and inclusion and ask that our community hold us accountable to continually strive to do better.

While Gardens Project’s New Victory Garden impact was reaching a crescendo, our capacity was dramatically limited. In July the three year grant that supported brought six full time VISTAs came to a close, shrinking our small program down to just two employees. Both of our remaining staff were asked to prioritize COVID prevention and relief projects, on top of the essential work to keep community gardeners safe and growing, leaving little time to plan fundraisers or seek donations.

We invite you to consider making a contribution this year. $1000 waters a garden, $500 builds community, $100 keeps us growing. We will graciously accept any support you feel empowered to contribute. Donations and support from friends like you have sustained the work we proudly continue to do. Your contribution will be reinvested into our cooperative of community gardens and will support operations of gardens, consultation for garden management teams, infrastructural updates to gardens, and more to support a more sustainable and healthy local food system and community.

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