The Latest Dirt - July 2023
Community Gardens – Measuring Success
By Karen Maggio
The Gehringer Pollinator Garden Team: Phil Quinlan, Allison Thomas, Karen Goodwin, Liz Whiteford. Photo by UC Master Gardener.
Engaging community, demonstrating best practices, encouraging teamwork, teaching and sharing experiences — this is what we do as UC Master Gardeners, in community gardens throughout Contra Costa County. The many successes we share come in different forms and sometimes defy quantitative measurement.
Though our greater University of California parent relies on metrics to quantify our contributions, the real success is how community gardening makes us feel. Whether it is a conversation from an appreciative community member, mentoring a young person who follows their dream or building a team and leading a new project, we can certainly measure our success in the joy that we feel.
Phil Quinlan recently reflected on the Gehringer Pollinator Garden in Concord, “I was out there this morning, and a couple walking along the path came up to me and said how much they love what we've done and how they enjoy checking out the plants every time they walk by and see what new blooms have appeared. We had a short discussion on pollinators and native plants, and it felt great to experience our goals of community outreach happening in person. I know we've all had similar experiences while working there. Great reinforcement that we chose a good location.”
Kim Overaa at Family Harvest Farm in Pittsburg recently described a community garden sign, “When I saw this, I had to share. Shanel created the most beautiful signage at FHF.” Shanel was a garden apprentice who graduated from the program and returned as an employee. She is continuing her education at Diablo Valley College in horticulture.
Discovery House Garden in Martinez. Photo by UC Master Gardener.
Judy Clayton and Molly Weden at Discovery House in Martinez shared a recent memory. “We had a very pleasant surprise for this site visit. During the previous week, the resident men cleaned up the yard beautifully, knocking down most of the weeds and cleaning up the walkways,” Molly described.
Family Harvest Team. Photo by Karen Maggio.
And finally, Allison Thomas, Family Harvest Farm Demo Garden Lead said, “It will be nice seeing all of you CoCoMGs at the farm soon!”
Editor’s Note: “All photos by UC Master Gardeners. © 2023 UC Regents.”