Meet LA Green Grounds Teaching Garden at Good Earth Community Garden
It’s summer in Los Angeles and if you enjoy gardening, you’ll understand that mornings are the ideal time to get to work. If you make your way to Mid-City, you’ll find LA Green Grounds Teaching Garden located next to Good Earth Community Garden. This small gem is a staple tool in building a strong and fruitful community. The Teaching garden sits on the corner of Carmona Avenue and Boden Street – our guide was Steven Meeks, representative for LA Green Grounds and President of West Adams Neighborhood Council. LA Green Grounds Teaching Garden blossomed over 2 years ago, thanks to the efforts of LA Green Grounds Director Florence Nishida and Steven Meeks. We quickly began our conversation under the shade of a tree across the street. It was Monday morning and 87 degrees warm. You won’t see traditional plots at the Teaching Garden, instead you’ll see marked areas growing an abundance of fresh food, like tomatoes, squash, and corn. There was even a designated area for Kale. In the center of the garden you’ll find a small horseshoe shaped seating area – this is where students and families meet when they visit the garden. You’ll usually find Masha Calloway at the Teaching Garden, she has been the main teacher since it began. She applied her Master Gardner skills and invited students and volunteers to hands on activities. Many of the things growing in the Teaching Garden are a result of Masha’s classes. As we continued, we saw two small wooden containers with different types of tomatoes. Some were ready to eat, some already enjoyed. The life that was oozing out of the garden was amazing. There were plenty or beetles and bees hanging out around the garden. Not to mention all the butterflies this Teaching garden was attracting. This was a site to see being that the garden sits next to power lines. Really giving the visitor a site to see. Modern living meets modern needs. Steven shared how they encourage neighbors to harvest the food that grows at the Teaching garden. Steven shared that the purpose of the garden “is to inspire people…to grow food without chemicals, and know that your food is organic.” Steven was first exposed to gardening as a youth. He shared that the Boy Scouts helped him appreciate the outdoors. He began gardening in his Grandmothers land in Texas in ‘75 and has been gardening ever since. He now grows his own grapes, oranges, and onions at Home. But his favorite things to grow are Sandia (Watermelon), Strawberries, and Cherimoya. He believes kids need to be exposed to the outdoors; which is what LA green grounds teaching garden is doing. Before wrapping up our visit, Steven invited a neighbor to collect food from the garden. She crossed the street, bringing us bags for us to take our items. She shared how much she appreciated the garden and Stevens presence. “Siempre lo vemos aquí, y siempre nos invita.” she said about Steven. Residents are encouraged to harvest the produce since the garden is maintained on a Volunteer basis. For the most part, the garden is left unattended with schedule visits and clean up days. Our neighbor friend shared how she sees other neighbors visit the garden and take what they need. We left the garden with a handful of tomatoes and succulents, but not before leaving with a true appreciation for LA Green Grounds Teaching Garden.
LA Green Grounds Teaching Garden is located on the corner of Carmona Avenue and Boden Street in Los Angeles, California 90016.
By Diana Campos-Jimenez