Community Garden at the Villa Parke

Things are shaping up quickly at the new Community Garden at the Villa Parke Community Center – our city’s first public community garden – set serve 30 low-income, mostly Spanish-speaking families in Northwest Pasadena, and more than 100 Head Start pupils and their families.

This new garden should be open and operating just a few weeks after the Christmas holidays. And the donors of the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy are among its major supporters – in a unique project funded by city, county, and private sources.

It’s been just over a year since PCGC held our first successful fundraiser, Can U Dig It?, at AKA Bistro in Old Town. Since then, things have been moving quickly: Our new nonprofit organization signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Pasadena to become the official support group for its first community garden, designed to serve needy families suffering from diabetes and obesity in “food desert” areas, located far from grocery stores.

Our role is providing funds for gardening tutors, supplies and nutritionists; coordinating a corps of helpful volunteers; and disseminating information widely through web-based communications and video.

The garden is at the Villa Parke Community Center at 363 E. Villa St., between Los Robles and Garfield. PCGC will be participating in a special Community Day, unveiling the gardening to the community, on January 25, 2014. Please plan to join us then! The city has asked us about a future community garden at Jackie Robinson Park/Center when the center receives a major facelift, beginning next year. We’re also creating a new website and an e-newsletter, and we hope to have an intern in place early next year to coordinate garden volunteers. PCGC’s long-term vision calls for at least 10 community gardens in low-income areas of our city.

We’re also keeping in touch with our grantees: Arlington Garden, John Muir High School’s Muir Ranch, Roots & Shoots at the L.A. County Arboretum, and La Casita del Arroyo.

(Note: Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy has no official connection, financial or otherwise – despite the similarities in our names – with the “Pasadena Community Garden” located at 721 S. Pasadena Ave., 91105. Early in 2013, PCGC’s board voted to issue a $3,000 grant enabling this garden – located in an upper-income area half a block from a large Von’s – to create scholarships for five low-income families from “food desert” areas. We are truly disappointed that this innovative grant project didn’t fit into the Pasadena Ave. garden’s plans. However, we wish them, and every other community garden in the San Gabriel Valley, a great success!)

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