December 8, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Bearing the Fruits of a Venice Labor of Love

9:55am

By Melanie Camp

Volunteers gathered in the streets of Venice for Community Healing Gardens’ all hands-on-deck Coffee and Dirt Planting Party on Saturday April 30. The non-profit organization that launched in Venice on June 13 last year, creates urban gardens to provide sustainable, nutritious food to diverse and underserved communities.

Venice local Nicole Landers explained that the gardens came about after she and neighbor Grant Gottfurcht, who runs the Yoga Collective on Rose Ave., “got together with a bunch of friends last summer for a social experiment. To see what would happen if we put garden boxes on the streets of Venice and see who would come out and garden with us and get involved with our community that’s been so gentrified.”

Volunteers helping out at the Community Healing Gardens Planting Party
Matthew Van Diepen works with volunteers helping out at the Community Healing Gardens Planting Party

Matthew Van Diepen runs Homegrown Gardens in Venice. His nursery provides seedlings for Community Healing Garden’s projects. “We started last summer and over a series of weekends we went down 7th, and then 6th, and 5th, and 4th and put out about 20 to 30 boxes each weekend with 50 to 100 volunteers each time,” Van Diepen said.

He added that with winter behind them “some of the boxes have fallen by the wayside so now we’re going back through with a bunch more people to revamp them and get them going for the spring so that hopefully in another couple of months there’ll be an abun- dance of food for everybody to come share.”

Regina lives in Santa Monica. She discovered the gardens while taking a walk down 4th.“I saw the tubs with these veggies growing in them and it was so wonderful. I thought, ‘who’s doing this!’ Then I saw the sign, Community Healing Gardens. So I looked it up online and I saw that they’re doing this amazing project, growing veggies in boxes all over Venice and they’re veggies for anyone who wants them and I thought that was so, so cool.”

While the gardens are for everyone in the community, not everyone realizes this. Virginia, who has a box on the corner of her street was excited to hear she could help herself to strawberries. She said earlier in the year she had chased a man away who was picking kale telling him he couldn’t because she thought the food was only for low income families.

Landers told Yo! Venice that there is plenty for everyone. “If you see some fruit and vegetables you want, take some. Just be sure the strawberries are red, the blueberries are blue, and if you’re going to take a piece of kale or collard that you break it from the bottom of the stalk. Don’t pull up the roots.”

On communityhealinggardens.org the group hosts videos on how to best harvest fruits and vegetables from their boxes.

Even with neighbors helping themselves the garden boxes provide a bountiful harvest that is abundant beyond greens, “we’re working with a couple of non-profits in the community. Dharma Kitchen and Safe Place for Youth (SPY)” said Landers, explaining that Community Healing Gardens employ young people through SPY to maintain and water the gardens.

Community Healing gardens Co-Founder Nicole Landers is co-founder with James and Emma who work maintaining the gardens
Community Healing gardens Co-Founder Nicole Landers with James and Emma who work maintaining the gardens

James, who has been working for the organization is keen for people to know that the water they use is not pulling from precious city reserves. “People will yell at us as they drive past saying, ‘don’t you know there’s a drought?’” Landers explained that the boxes are very drought friendly.

“Some neighbors are taking ownership and watering the boxes which isn’t taking that much water. We water twice a week, there’s mulch, there’s good compost, so you don’t have to water as much. And then, the secret sauce? We pull water from David Hertz the architect. He has a machine called Sky Water and his company is called Sky Source and it makes water from humidity.

120 gallons a day. Right here in Venice on Market Street.”

The garden boxes was the organization’s first project and the idea was to expand it throughout Los Angeles however the focus grew in a different direction that has seen the group take root in school gardens. “We’ve been working out in Watts with a junior high school and an elementary School. The elementary school, we did a kind of similar thing with the boxes and then for the junior high school they have an acre and a half plot that had been neglected for many years…so we’ve been helming them to get their garden going again,” said Van Diepen.

Whether it’s in Venice, or a school in Watts, Van Diepen added that he loves the concept of a community gardening space, “I think it brings people together and just makes people more aware of their connection to their food, their connection to nature, and their connection to their neighborhood.”

With that kind of connection, the Community Healing Gardens is sure to keep on growing.

Tags: in Opinion
Related Posts

Opinion: To Stop the Venice Median Project, You Need to Replace Mike Bonin!

December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021

By Nick Antonicello There are those who believe community advocacy is writing a large check and going to court to...

State’s Housing Solution Starts Happening

December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021

By Tom Elias, Columnist It’s happening. Despite the best efforts of California’s highly ideological, developer-financed state legislators, the solution to...

Opinion: “Millionaire Mike”

December 2, 2021

December 2, 2021

A myth and legend of the left, what does Bonin actually have in common with LA’s homeless? By Nick Antonicello ...

Opinion: I Am My Brother’s Keeper

November 23, 2021

November 23, 2021

By Nick Antonicello I spoke with Bruno Hernandez, the executive director of Be Creative/STP Foundation as well as The Venice...

Opinion: SB 9, 10: The Rebellion Begins

November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021

By Tom Elias, Columnist It was inevitable from the moment Gov. Gavin Newsom in mid-September signed this year’s two most...

Opinion: Recall Movement Seeks Signature Verification, but Will Bonin Strike Back With Litigation?

November 18, 2021

November 18, 2021

By Nick Antonicello It is no small feat for a band of community volunteers seeking real political change to spend...

Opinion: Recall Files 39,188 Signatures to Boot Bonin From the LA Council!

November 11, 2021

November 11, 2021

By Nick Antonicello  The Committee to Recall LA Councilman Mike Bonin filed 39,164 signatures today with the LA City Clerk’s...

Opinion: Ten Reasons Why Mike Bonin Must Be Recalled!

November 8, 2021

November 8, 2021

By Nick Antonicello There will be a successful recall of Councilman Mike Bonin (CD-11) and the reasons are in the...

Sacto Dems Dump Prop. 13 Reforms

November 5, 2021

November 5, 2021

By Tom Elias, Columnist For more than 40 years, Democrats in Sacramento have talked fervently about reforming the 1978 Proposition...

Opinion: Housing, Homelessness and the Empty Rhetoric of LA Mayoral Hopefuls Looking to Replace Eric Garcetti!

October 19, 2021

October 19, 2021

For who will help Venice get rid of Mike Bonin? By Nick Antonicello There is an obvious “disconnect” between this...

Opinion: How Low Can You Go?

September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021

By Nick Antonicello Instead of discussing the issues people really want to talk about like Councilman Mike Bonin’s miserable record...

Opinion: Recall Or Reelection: That’s The Choice For D-town Voters When It Comes To Incumbent Mike Bonin

September 16, 2021

September 16, 2021

By Nick Antonicello There was good news for embattled incumbent Councilman Mike Bonin yesterday in that Governor Gavin Newsom not...