Thursday, May 20

Sonoma County planted over 600 waterwise food gardens in a single weekend

MAY 15-16, 2010


SONOMA COUNTY, CA— Sonoma County championed the largest mass garden mobilization in California this past weekend with over 600 new and revitalized gardens to link local food production and carbon savings. Far surpassing the original goal of 350 new and revitalized gardens across the county, the 350 Garden Challenge weekend will have enduring effects for local food security, health, and community education.

Organized by Daily Acts, iGROW Sonoma, GoLocal, and Living Mandala, the initiative was sponsored by the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) and the cities of Windsor, Sebastopol, and Cotati, with all the cities of Sonoma County in support. Organic and waterwise gardening sequesters carbon, produces food, increases physical and emotional health, and builds community. Weekend highlights included a container garden installation at the Board of Supervisors’ office, two laundry-to-landscape greywater systems, tens of thousands of square feet of lawn transformations, hundreds of wine barrel container gardens installed in low-income communities, and educational workshops on sheet mulching, greywater systems, raised bed construction, drip irrigation, and ecological design.

Dozens of local businesses supported the challenge with thousands of dollars in sponsorship, $10,000 worth of donated materials, and discount coupons for participants. Community organizations supported the challenge by hosting workshops and garden installations before and throughout the weekend.

  • Laundry-to-landscape greywater system installed by North Bay Institute of Green Technology, an organization which provides green-collar job training for at-risk youth.
  • Dozens of volunteers transformed hundreds of square feet of lawn at “Community Market,” a locally-owned natural food store.
  • The West County Community Seed Bank and dozens of volunteers planted a new community “seed garden” to grow and share regional, open-pollinated, pesticide and GMO-free seeds.
  • On a single block of five garden projects, sixty volunteers contributed over 200 hours of volunteer time to turn 3,000 square feet of lawn into a waterwise and edible landscape, install raised beds, and regenerate a community garden for seniors.
  • A workshop educated over 30 volunteers about Permaculture, an ecological design system that grows food for people by working with nature. The workshop culminated in a lawn transformation that will harvest roof-water to irrigate berry bushes and increase water storage capacity onsite.
  • Over 40 volunteers sheet mulched a section of lawn at Petaluma City Hall and over twenty volunteers sheet mulched 2,000 square feet of lawn at the Petaluma Library in preparation for a waterwise children’s garden.
  • Laundry-to-landscape greywater installation and workshop at Golden Nectar Farm.
  • Workday at Windsor Town Green Community Garden and drip irrigation workshop by renowned author and Drip Irrigation expert Robert Kourik.
The 350 Garden Challenge is inspired in part by the international campaign to find and implement solutions to climate change, rooted in the philosophy that growing food is one of the most influential actions each individual can take towards building a more sustainable future and combatting climate change.

In cooperation,
Erin Axelrod (Previous CUFSP community garden digger-in-chief, currently residing in California and attempting to save the world, one garden at a time)