City’s Urban Garden grows fresh veggies

Olivia Holt

The Urban Garden at City College is a welcoming site among the city’s high-rise buildings. Monarch butterflies flutter throughout the garden, greeting people as they walk along the dirt pathway to the sitting area that is shaded with the help of recycled corn husks.

It seems that every being in the garden has its part and really comes together in full circle to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Seed’s at City is the first college or university urban farm program in San Diego County and has played a groundbreaking role in helping students and people with the education, aid and tools to live a sustainable and healthy life-style.

“The program helps students and people establish viable skills needed to live a sustainable healthy life-style by being able to provide organic food to people in their community,” said Julia Dashe the gardening educator at Seeds for City who is also part of the team at San Diego ROOTS Sustainable Food Project.

The progressive program was formed through a collaboration effort between the Environmental Stewardship Committee and the San Diego ROOTS Sustainable Food Project. “One of the things we wanted to do, is really push education in green technology, one of the ideas that stemmed was the garden.” said Karon Klipple who is Chair of the City College’s Environmental Stewardship Committee.

By 2010, Seeds at City may establish the first certificate in urban agriculture in Southern California. “Organic farming skills is a heavily needed sector in communities,” Dashe explained.

Seed’s for City has inspired other schools in the San Diego Community to begin their own urban gardens.

“In November the Environmental Stewardship will hold a conference called Growing Farmers of San Diego, to discuss and build on each others strengths, successes and ideas, to become more successful together,” said Klipple.

Ben Diamond, an intern majoring in Environmental Studies will be transferring to U.C Santa Cruz in the fall and said, ” I want to take what knowledge I’ve gained from this farm and take it over there, as well as into the community.”

A year old, Seeds at City continues to grow all year round: A new shed made out of recycled wood stands near the wash basins, and some new slimy friends, the worms, have been added to the compost to help with the softening of the soil.

“The compost is made from the City College’s cafeteria scrapes and student’s coffee grounds,” Dashe explained to a group of high school students from Crawfords High School that was visiting the Urban Garden.

“There are six new interns this fall that will be helping in the garden and volunteers are welcomed every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 A.M. until noon,” Dashe explained.

Arny Brenes who is a volunteer for Seeds for City started volunteering when extra credit was offered for his Chicano Studies 150 class, after the class ended he continued volunteering because he felt the experience was very rewarding on a personal level. “Working the land, watching things you’ve planted and nurtured, grow to nurture your body…is a really good feeling”.

There is also a new gardening site by the Continuing Education building, “We are growing Hopi corn and organic cut flowers there and sell them at the farmers market” said Dashe. The Farmer’s Market is every Tuesday and Saturday from 10 A.M. until noon.

“I don’t know much about gardening, I believe in what they are doing and like to make a contribution and hopefully learn something along the way……Plus, it gets me out of my desk,” said Conroy Frit, a volunteer for the Urban Garden.

For more information on interning or volunteering visit www.seedsatcity.com