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May 21st, 2009

THE EVOLUTION OF A COMMUNITY GARDEN

PATAGONIA COMMUNITY GARDEN

Where Good Things Grow

Located at 4th and Duquesne in the Town of Patagonia.

Soil  Ripped and Rough Shaped by Equipment before Hand Working Paths and Growing Beds

Soil Ripped and Rough Shaped by Equipment before Hand Working Paths and Growing Beds

The rich soils of this former cienega are an excellent foundation for the two-third acre garden that was established in January of 1999 on land belonging the Town of Patagonia. Consistent with the original deed of 1928, the garden remains a “gathering place.” Native Seeds/Search is our fiscal agent, giving us 501©3 nonprofit status.

Summer in the Garden/ Orchard

Summer in the Garden/ Orchard

Historical elements include a stone tool shed, picnic table, benches, and steps, constructed in the late 1930’s by the CCC.  Thanks to grants from the Patagonia Regional Community Foundation, repairs, in keeping with their history, have been made. In 2008, a 400 square foot all-weather memorial ramada will be constructed to serve community needs for an outdoor education center and a venue for social functions such as weddings and quincineras.

The annual Fall Harvest celebration and Pie Auction is the social highlight of the Garden that draws on broad community participation, memorable and tasty enough to repeat.

Once a Home, now a Tool Shed: Built by the CCC in the 1930's

Once a Home, now a Tool Shed: Built by the CCC in the 1930's

Pie Auction Tickets for Sale at the Post Office, a Community Information Center

Pie Auction Tickets for Sale at the Post Office, a Community Information Center

From its inception, the intent of the garden has been to stimulate community-wide sustainability through local food production. Experiential education about water harvesting (growing beds are depressions that hold rainwater), growing food in arid lands and associated health benefits, both personal and environmental, are at the heart of the project. Our growing methods are organic. Beauty is also fundamental to the vision; beauty inspires and invites our engagement with place. The Garden demonstrates what is possible here.

An orchard, planted in 2000, providing habitat, fruit, shade for growing beds on hot summer afternoons whilst preserving heirloom varieties.

Workshop Participants Learn as they Plant Donated Heirloom Fruit Trees

Workshop Participants Learn as they Plant Donated Heirloom Fruit Trees

There are more than 30 apple, pear, European plum and cherry trees, as well as pomegranate, Emorii oak (for traditional native food: bellotas), grapes and black currants. The inclusion of guilds of native species attracts an array of birds, insects and soil micro flora thereby increasing the overall diversity of the Garden.

A 4H garden for younger children, the Clover Club, has been increasingly successful over the years. This work has been further enhanced through a direct relationship with the Patagonia Schools and a satelite garden program, funded in recent years by State grants through the Mariposa Health Center. That 90% of the children in our schools today have knowledge of soils, growing food, and an understanding of healthy bodies in relationship to healthy food is something we are truly proud of.

Under the Shade of a Plum Tree, a Quiet Place for Contemplation

Under the Shade of a Plum Tree, a Quiet Place for Contemplation

Fruit Trees now in Production

Fruit Trees now in Production

The Community Garden’s expanding vision invites deeper interaction with place. There are places to sit in sun or shade, a rosy bower and bench, the Contemplative Garden, and a shrine dedicated to La Guadalupana.

Local Artist Juanita Bostick-Andre Donated the Bronze Guadalupe. Nested into a Metal Wheeled Copper Lined Wheelbarrow and Built into a Straw Bale Wall

Local Artist Juanita Bostick-Andre Donated the Bronze Guadalupe. Nested into a Metal Wheeled Copper Lined Wheelbarrow and Built into a Straw Bale Wall

The Garden is always open and its six entrances honor the human flows that have moved across this land. We value the many hands and hearts that continue to give to this project, and our partnerships with the Schools, Fire Department, Town and Community Foundation. The children, the people of Patagonia and many donors from further away make this a profoundly rooted project that will continue to nurture, to blossom and bear fruit.

Vibrant Crops Inspire Possibility

Vibrant Crops Inspire Possibility

Gardeners Share a Joke After Off Loading Manure

Gardeners Share a Joke After Off Loading Manure

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