Mesa Verde Gardens Keep Growing

More families, more acreage, and more fresh healthy food!

Mesa Verde Gardens is growing by leaps and bounds, empowering low-income residents in Santa Cruz County to grow their own pesticide-free fresh fruits and vegetables in community gardens throughout Watsonville.

Giant carrot!

Founded by Ana Rasmussen, Mesa Verde Gardens helps low-income people improve their health and lower food costs with their own year-round organic edible gardens. Two programs are currently available.


Early Childhood Gardens
The Early Childhood Gardens project gives low-income preschoolers access to fresh, organic produce and the opportunity to learn about plants, life and health in an outdoor organic garden.

Children plant seeds, learn about the garden, watch their crops grow, and harvest and eat the food they’ve grown—making a lasting connection that will have a positive effect on their health and quality of life.

Scott in the classroom with kids

Twice a month, Scott Ferreter, a bilingual garden educator, visits each pre-school to teach the kids about nutrition. His creative hands-on approach, incorporating art, music and puppet shows is perfect for little gardeners. Lately, they’ve been focusing on the healthy aspects of edible plants.

Community Gardens
The Community Gardens project offers low-income families the opportunity to grow their own fruits and vegetables in shared garden space at three locations in Watsonville. There are 90 14’ x 12’ family plots all together. Each family pays $5/month for the use of an individual garden plot.

On a recent weekend, gardeners gathered to get the plots ready for planting.

Anna helps section off planting areas

Mesa Verde Gardens also has a 1/8 acre Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Garden, adjacent to the Community Garden at All Saints Episcopal Church. In 2011, all produce was donated to the Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes food pantry. In 2012, they are growing crops specifically requested by Loaves and Fishes staff for use in their daily lunch program.

Thanks to Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens for donating space in their greenhouses. They are currently caring for 2,000 tomato plants and 1500 pepper plants started from seed until they can be moved outdoors.


Special thanks to local farmer, Diane Cooley, for donating the use of her tractor and employees’ time to till the fields each Spring and Fall.

Thanks also to the Pajaro Valley Community Trust for their funding.

To everyone who has volunteered time and/or made a donation, thank you.

Help Mesa Verde Gardens continue to grow by volunteering or making a donation.

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