Planting Begins at Pajaro Community Orchards

About fifty people, including donors, community garden members and city leaders, turned up for Mesa Verde Gardens’ Community Tree Planting on February 9th. Everyone got their hands dirty, planting 42 trees and digging a 400-foot irrigation trench—all before lunch!

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The workday began at 10:00 am with Mesa Verde Gardens’ volunteers, Finn and Abel, demonstrating how to plant the trees. Spots were already staked and labeled in the half-acre plot, which is located on the slope behind Lutheran Community Church.

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Before the planting began, the group formed a circle and Pastor Susan Birkelo provided a bilingual blessing. When the work was done, everyone shared a pot-luck lunch. In March, volunteers will reassemble to plant 15-20 citrus trees. A quiet green space for everyone to enjoy, the orchard will eventually include pathways, benches, and a labyrinth.

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The Pajaro Community Orchard became a reality when over 100 people contributed to a KickStarter campaign to fund the project, which will be maintained by community garden members—110 families strong and growing! Sierra Azul Nursery has made donations to Mesa Verde Gardens since its inception and provided the trees for the orchard at a discount.

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The orchard isn’t all that’s new. Mesa Verde Gardens has secured a quarter-acre plot for a new community garden they are developing in partnership with the Santa Cruz County Fair Board and Agricultural History Project, who are donating the land, water and fencing. This new garden will accommodate 25 families.

The mission of Mesa Verde Gardens is to empower low-income residents of Santa Cruz County to meet the immediate and basic need for food security by increasing their access to pesticide-free fresh fruits and vegetables through the creation of small organic gardens.

Mesa Verde Gardens’ programs assist low-income people to achieve equal access to fresh, healthy food by joining with them to build and maintain their own year-round organic edible gardens, thus improving health and lowering food costs. 
All of their projects are designed to have a positive impact on the health of participating children by increasing their access to and consumption of healthy organic produce, while reducing their risk for obesity, diabetes and other diet-related health problems.

For more information or to make a donation, visit http://mesaverdegardens.org

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