Sunday, July 12, 2009

Going Local - A Community Garden Upcountry

Yesterday we helped start a new community garden in Pioneer.

About 10 folks turned out to turn a bare patch of earth into the beginnings of our own local food fest and community gathering spot. Thanks must go to Sean Kriletich of UC Cooperative Extension and the Amador County Recreation Agency for bringing the idea and the day about.

The garden is located at the Mollie Joyce Environmental Center. Earlier this year Fred Joyce, a fourth generation Amador resident in his 80's, generously donated the 80 acres to the Amador County Recreation Agency. He decided to give it to the recreation agency to honor his grandmother's wishes - to help children and youth.

Currently the house is being used for photography classes and has a room that's been converted into a dark room. The new garden, out back, though small to start out, has lots of room to grow and expand, depending on the interest of the community.

In just 3 hours so much was accomplished! Fence posts put in, a fence put up, two garden beds and some paths formed (using resources right at hand - old logs and large stones to border the beds), vegetables planted, irrigation put down, and pine needle mulch spread out on the paths and beds (also found right near the garden under the nearby towering pines).

Sean shared the many benefits of mulching with those gathered (for example: regulating the temperature of the soil, keeping moisture locked in, suppressing weed growth, and as it decomposes, instant compost). Our 4 year-old son even pitched in an helped haul the pine needles over to the garden spot. Sustainable gardening from the get go! Using resources at hand, rather than hauling in and paying for outside materials that come from miles away.

We look forward to nurturing this little plot of soil, getting to know our local neighbors, and sharing our passion for sustainable, local food sources with others.

Alas, we all forgot our cameras yesterday, so all the hard work being done isn't shown here! But I returned today to make sure we had some photos. At least you can see the lovely and humble results!

Share the news, and if you live upcountry, visit the garden! And stay tuned for the next work party.


  1. Fine post and pictures, Tracy. Thanks!

  2. That's really cool, and what a beautiful spot!