Eighty-eight year old Emiliano Vega and his son Sylvestre can be found harvesting their vegetables in their family garden plot at the Yanonali Community Gardens nearly every day before dinner. Mr. Vega grew up “working the soil” and enjoys gardening as both a physical activity and for the pleasure it gives him to provide food for his children and grandchildren.
“Every time I harvest my vegetables and spices, I make it a point to visit with my family and share with my food with them,” he explains. “It makes me feel good to know that I can contribute to my family and not be a burden.” His son nods in agreement and adds that he and his siblings often join his father in the garden because it is like “therapy,” plus the fresh vegetables taste so much better than store-bought.
Don’t have the space for a garden where you live? Enjoy growing your own healthy organic vegetables, herbs and flowers for only $62 per year at one of the three community gardens run by the City’s Parks & Recreation Department. Rancheria, Yanonali and Pilgrim Terrace gardens are all conveniently located near the Franklin, Lower Westside and Westside Community Centers. The 10×20 foot garden plots can be rented for $62 ($74 without a Resident Discount Card), by visiting your nearest community center or by calling 963-7567. The priority application period is now through September 17. New gardeners will be able to begin gardening on October 1.
The community gardens feature individually-boxed, bordered garden plots, with mulch and decomposed granite pathways to make the gardening experience safe and accessible. Additionally, raised beds have been built for those physically challenged or disabled. Rest areas, information kiosks, storage sheds, compost bins, water spigots and trash receptacles are also an integral part of the design at each garden.