From Parking Lot to Garden Plot, the Lafayette Community Garden and Outdoor Learning Center, located across from the Lafayette Reservoir entrance, is about to start its second season.
Less than a year old, the garden has become an attractive, thriving space which, beginning in March, will be open most days for all to enjoy. In order to build the infrastructure and develop the beds, the garden received generous support and help during its first year from garden members, community members, the Lafayette Community Foundation, the Happy Valley Garden Club, Leap Frog Plumbing, Overaa Construction, Diamond K and other area businesses. Art work in the garden lists the names of early garden supporters.
From 2008 to 2011 a group of community members searched Lafayette for a site to establish a garden and outdoor learning center. Their goal was to create a space where citizens of all ages could grow and share food collaboratively and learn about sustainable gardening and our rich, beautiful local riparian habitat. In February 2011, the City of Lafayette and EBMUD agreed to allow the community to use the current site. Sustainable Lafayette agreed to be the fiscal sponsor. Private donations enabled the ground to be broken in March 2012.
From April to November 2012, fifty inaugural member families, along with Boy and Girls Scouts, a church group and other volunteers, enjoyed a sense of camaraderie as they built a greenhouse, shed and garden beds from a variety of recycled materials. A number of different crops were grown and shared during the season. A series of educational workshops, open to the public, was successful in bringing information about gardening and natural history of the area to those who attended. The Earth Day Open House and Fall Harvest Festival were both fun community events.
The garden is sustained on a day to day basis by a cooperative community of members who work under the direction of a garden manager and committee leaders. Beginning this March, the garden will expand its membership from fifty to seventy families. Membership application forms can be downloaded from the garden website at www.lafayettecommunitygarden.org and are due at the address listed on the application by February 28th.
A special aspect of the garden and learning center site is that it sits along the Lafayette Creek and is graced by a number of native riparian plants. These plants are highlighted in a natural riparian oak garden and along a short nature trail, which will be accessible during open hours, beginning in March.
Also, in 2013, garden members hope to grow enough food to be able to share excess with local agencies that serve the needy.
Community members are encouraged to visit the garden site and participate in community activities.
During February, the garden is open each Saturday from 9 – 11 and starting in March, will be open most days. The open hours are listed on the bulletin board outside of the garden entrance.
During the 2013 season, monthly workshops and intergenerational activities will be held at the garden’s outdoor learning center.
The first four workshops are:
- February 9, 1:30 – 3:00 Building Healthy Soil
- March 9 1:30 – 3:00 Doing Your Own Plant Propagation
- April 13 10:00 – 11:30 Irrigation and New Norms for California Landscape
- May 11 1:30 – 3:00 Creating and Enjoying a Butterfly Garden
One can register for these classes on the garden website: www.lafayettecommunitygarden.org. If you have any questions about the garden, you can call Janet at 946-0563.