Sponsored by THRIVE Lemon Grove, the Community Gardens Project in Lemon Grove, California focused on enhancing the overall health of community members. Its partners included the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Zone Coalition and Kaiser Permanente, which provided funding through a grant to help small communities reduce obesity.
While the project’s primary goal was to provide community members better access to fresh fruits and vegetables, it was also intended to help community members spend more time outdoors and build relationships with their neighbors.
With the help of volunteers, a demonstration garden was constructed on an unused parcel of land donated by the city. A year later, after approval from city council, the garden was expanded to its full capacity of 40 raised beds. Of those, six were raised higher to provide seniors with elevated access to tend to their gardens, and three beds on the garden’s perimeter were made wheelchair accessible.
Residents leased a planter box for $100 a year on a first-come, first-serve basis. That included access to water, seasonal starter seeds, shared garden tools, and monthly workshops. Monthly newsletters kept members and interested residents informed about events.
The garden also included areas for butterflies and hummingbirds. The Lemon Grove Community Garden provided meaningful, hands-on agricultural activities for residents that helped add beauty and vibrancy to this once underused space.