MISSION of the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy
To improve family health in urban food desert neighborhoods through grants for community gardens and nutrition education.
VISION – A trowel in each hand means better living for all Pasadenans
A sustainable network of community gardens throughout Northwest Pasadena – gardens to serve as sources of healthful fruits and vegetables, as well as centers for learning how to strengthen our bodies, create cleaner air and water, and build a greener city for us all.
The Conservancy’s First Garden Project At the Villa-Parke Community Center
PCGC, a fund of the Pasadena Community Foundation, is partnering with the City of Pasadena’s Department of Human Services and Recreation to open our city’s first public community garden at the Villa-Parke Community Center in April 2014. To build and sustain the garden, PCGC Trustees were instrumental in helping our city obtain a Little Green Fingers Community Garden Collaborative Grant from Los Angeles County’s First Five LA, a county agency supported by the state tobacco tax. PCGC and the HSR Dept. are already in discussions about a possible second collaboration, to support a community garden at the Jackie Robinson Center, which is undergoing renovation.
Where the Conservancy’s Funds Will be Spent at the Villa-Parke Community Garden
PCGC’s funding pledge – $100,000 over five years, or $20,000 annually – supports a University of California-certified Master Gardener to teach gardening to 30 families who will have individual plots in the roof garden, and 80 pupils who will learn to garden in the first-floor Head Start garden. In addition, our funds will support a certified Nutritionist to teach cooking, diet, and nutrition classes to the community garden and to the Head Start families.
How the Conservancy ‘Sprouted’ In Pasadena
PCGC is a “homegrown” donor collective begun by more than 30 avid gardeners as a fund of the Pasadena Community Foundation in June 2012, after Dr. Eric G. Walsh MD, Pasadena’s Public Health Director, produced a study, the Pasadena/Altadena 2012 Quality of Life Index*, spelling out the health conditions and outcomes facing the more than 18,000 residents of Northwest Pasadena living below the poverty line. [*Study is available on our website.]
Dr. Walsh revealed a Pasadena that was far from the idealized upper-middle-class suburb that television viewers envision when they watch the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. He showed our city to be diverse and increasingly urbanized – with a population about 55% white and with more than 50% families living in multi-family housing. The density is greatest for low-income, minority families living North of the 210 Freeway.
Dr. Walsh’s study included a map [see other side] showing that the preponderance of liquor stores and fast-food joints in Northwest Pasadena neighborhoods, coupled with a dearth of grocery stores, qualified these neighborhoods to be labeled “food deserts.” The study cited statistics on the relative obesity rate of Latino and African-American Pasadenans (nearly 30%) compared with that of white Pasadenans (18%); it recommended community gardens and urban agriculture throughout Northwest Pasadena. Even the moderate physical activity associated with gardening could help combat obesity and diabetes, the study noted. “Community gardens provide a form of physical activity, help reduce blood pressure and alleviate muscle tension, and provide free or inexpensive produce.
Strong evidence shows that gardeners consume vegetables more frequently than their non-gardener counterparts,” Dr. Walsh pointed out in making the case for community gardens throughout Northwest Pasadena.
PCGC Trustees: Jessica Korzenecki, Chair, Charles Bakaly Jr., Marco Barrantes, Donald E. Hall, Treasurer, Marilyn Brumder, Beth Hansen, Fundraising Chair, Shelley Allen Kohorst, Susan Kranwinkle, Susan Osen, Secretary, Charles C. Read, Eileen White Read, President & CEO.
For more information or to donate to or volunteer with PCGC, contact Eileen White Read, phone 626.683.9790; cell 202.641.0779. Email: [email protected] Visit us on Facebook or our website: www.pasadenacommunitygardensconservancy.org. PCGC is a fund of the Pasadena Community Foundation