The Garden of Hope

I spent Saturday morning touring an amazing community garden situated on private property in El Cajon. The community garden, a “Garden of Hope,” is one of four gardens that sources the Table of Hope, a program that feeds approximately 930 families in San Diego with fresh, locally grown produce.

I found out about the Garden of Hope because, as usual, I was trying to pawn off my seedlings on friends and neighbors, whose gardens are already bursting with veggies. A friend suggested donating them to Garden of Hope (thanks, Jenny!), and I was excited to learn that they could take all 80 of my tomato plants (plus basil, cucumbers, melons, peppers, pumpkins and squash). Here’s what my car looked like:

Here are my babies, on their way to their new home! Everyone’s all tucked in nicely.

Here’s another photo, because you can never have too many photos of baby seedlings:

Once I arrived, Cheryl and Noura greeted me. Cheryl owns the property that hosts this particular Garden of Hope and is an avid gardener herself. Noura runs the Table of Hope, coordinating fresh food distribution to hundreds of families. They benefit from several donations, including the lumber you see below from Lumbercycle. Lumbercycle seeks to divert woody biomass from going to the landfill and reconstituting it into usable wood. Each piece tells a story, with much of the lumber used to build these garden beds and trellises coming from the San Diego Cedar Fire that happened in 2003.

Lumber donated by Lumbercycle helps the garden builders create beds and trellises. Lumbercycle diverts woody biomass from going to the landfill, where buried wood releases methane gas.
Volunteers sign up for shifts via Eventbrite. Those tomatoes you see were in the back of my car just minutes before this photo. What a wonderful new home!
They’re also working on creating a hydroponic system with fish. As many gardeners know, fish poo makes great fertilizer, so they’ll be using the fertilized water on plants while adding clean water to the pond.
The seedlings settle into their new home!

If you’re interested in volunteering or contributing to this project, send them a message at the links above. They’re super responsive. And, if you know of projects like this in other parts of San Diego, let me know. I’m always looking for good homes for seedlings.