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Live Oak celebrates community garden
Donations are needed for improvements to the Live Oak Community Garden.
Checks can be made payable to the Live Oak Community Recreation Center, with "garden" written in the memo, and mailed to P.O. Box 332, Live Oak, CA 95933.
Nancy Hill has never had a garden in her life, but as a vegan, she is excited to finally be able to start growing her own food.
Visions of bell peppers, lettuce, kale, zucchini, squash, cucumbers and herbs fill her mind as she plans how to plant her plot at the new Live Oak Community Garden, which opened in June but was officially celebrated Tuesday by about 40 city officials, children and potential gardeners.
"I'm afraid of overwatering, underwatering. I don't really know what I'm doing, but they have awesome people here to help," Hill said.
She loves the premise of community gardens, which, she said, lessens crime and introduce people to their neighbors, and said she thinks all housing developments should include gardens in their design. Even though Hill's house in the KB Homes development has a large backyard, she still prefers to sink her fingers into soil at the community garden.
"Just to be part of the whole community," she said. "To see the beauty in what everyone else is doing."
Sandra Hannaford, director of the Live Oak Resource Community Center, said she is grateful to the city for its foresight in approving the project and partnering with the resource center to provide the water and land at N and Apricot streets. People at the center built the garden and oversee its day-to-day operation with the help of an $8,000 grant from Union Pacific Railroad and community business support.
Tomato plants already are starting to swallow their cages, zucchinis are bursting into bushes and radishes are popping from the soil. A hummingbird feeder and paper butterflies dangle from trees as flowers bloom out of painted tires and rocks-turned-ladybugs decorate the dirt.
The resource center, also known as "The Spot," has set aside plots for youth to care for during its summer program and will donate the produce to Hope Point food bank and the senior village. Hannaford said she hopes it becomes a place to teach children about health, gardening and community service.
"We want to have a family activity that moms and dads and kids can do together — and digging in the dirt is fun," she said.
Antonia Hernandez's nephew Kyle Taylor, 6, loves his regular trips to the garden with The Spot and comes home chattering about what he grew or planted that day. The garden will be a great benefit to youth, she said.
"It's much better than to be on the streets and doing bad stuff," she said.
Twin sisters Roxxanna and Rosemarie Lopez, 9, are happy their gardening feeds the hungry and look forward to watching their corn, tomatoes and watermelons grow.
"I like how the plants grow really fast," said Roxxanna, 9. "And you get all dirty and it's fun."
The garden also beautified the community, said Jessica Belden, who grinned ear to ear as she cut the ceremonial ribbon on Tuesday with a giant pair of wooden scissors.
"There was really nothing here, and then it became a garden," she said.
Such was the case at Second and C streets in Marysville, which was transformed into a thriving community garden last year. Today, all plots are used, except for one that is kept available for the disabled, and the gardeners are sharing excess food with the public, said supporter Ricky Samayoa.
"Aesthetically, it just looks awesome," he said. "You can just tell by all the fruit and vegetables that are growing, there is a lot of love put into it."
The Live Oak garden has water to build 12 more spots and plans to paint a mural, plant an orchard and begin composting. Plots cost $25 a year and spaces are available.
"It's a great thing for the community to get involved in and for kids to get involved with vegetables, growing vegetables, to have a successful harvest," said council member Ray Rogers. "It's wonderful we have a place for this to happen."
CONTACT Ashley Gebb at email@example.com.