Saturday, April 26, 2008

BAYBLOOM Launches - Growing Food and Community in Bayview Backyards

One of the things Quesada Gardens Initiative has learned these past years is that community building works best if projects are defined by people instead of agendas.  Loads of people love community gardens, but not everyone wants to meet neighbors in that sort of setting. 

In a place with such diversity, there are lots of reasons why residents may not head to a public space or try to meet neighbors on the street where they live: country of origin, language, citizenship status, safety concerns, etc..  For these folks, the effort to connect people to one another and to place has to come to them instead of the other way around.

Quesada Gardens residents in the heart of Bayview and concerned University of San Francisco faculty and students have launched a unique community-university partnership called Baybloom.  Together, participants have begun installing FREE backyard gardens for qualifying Bayview residents with a commitment to offering expert gardening help.

The Apostal family received the first backyard garden in 2006 as part of an organizing effort on the 1400 block of Quesada Avenue.  Five more backyard gardens will be installed in the coming months. 

Resident gardeners can choose from a menu of planter boxes, fruit trees, seeds, compost and more.  Family and neighbor gathering spaces are incorporated into each design to encourage building community between family members, friends and immediate neighbors in a "safe" space.

Project leader James Ross encourages neighbors to take advantage of this great offer.  "It's good for your pocketbook, your health, your community," he said.

Quesada Gardens Initiative is grateful to program partner Prof. Seth Wachtel and his Architecture and Community Design program at University of San Francisco.  We are also grateful for support from SF Department of the Environment, Kaiser Permanente, and California Pacific Medical Center).

UPDATE:  The Baybloom Backyard Garden project is now 18 gardens strong.  There has not been funding for the project for some time, but gardening mentorship continues as does distribution of whatever materials and supplies we can scrounge up. 

Tony "Green Goatee" Tarket became the Baybloom project leader when James Ross and family moved.  Many new gardens have been created under his leadership.  One backyard garden created in the yart of a church (Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church Garden) was so elaborate that we think of it as a part of our community gardens network.

Garden recipients include:
Aisenfeld Family
Antunovich Family
Apostol Family
Betcher Family
Bliss Family
Carter Family
Cornerstone Family
Dumlao Family
Eagleton Family
Galante/Tarket Family
Goebel Family
Harrison Family
Jordan Family
Pettus Family
Ross Family
Smith Family
Sumchai Family
Walls Family
Williams Family

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