FORT BRAGG, 6/6/22 — Most of the time, gardeners wish for rain. But organizers of the grand opening for the South Lincoln Street Community Garden, the new garden next to Fort Bragg’s CV Starr Community Center, were thankful to Mother Nature that Saturday’s forecasted rain waited until participants had a chance for music, healthy treats, games, activities and even a few speeches. The garden opened for planting in December — but the grand opening was saved for Saturday, when plants would be up and the rains, in theory, over for the year.
Just after the event ended, the rain let loose, blessing the veggies and flowers that community members started to plant in individual plots. The rain respite was one of the few challenges that the fledgling garden dodged. The garden survived pandemic restrictions, drought issues and the need for lots of hands and knees and shovel work by volunteers to emerge fluffy and full.
“I was floored when I saw they had actually done it,” said Fort Bragg City Councilmember Tess Albin-Smith. “It’s one thing to talk about a project like this and quite another to see it through and get it done. This is great!”
Activist George Reinhardt sang his garden song, one of two musicians who entertained the crowd of thirty to forty people. “When I think of how things are in the U.S. right now, it’s local efforts like this that are going to get us out of the mess we are in and give us some great food,” Reinhardt told the crowd.
The garden plots ranged from just sprouting to full. The two beds set up to be accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act were burgeoning, the work of four qualified gardeners. In addition to the ADA plots, there are 23 regular plots, each 50 square feet. All but four were planted by community members. Those four are seeded with buckwheat, designed to be a compost crop. A new greenhouse was on display, as well as the water tanks, shed, compost area, and the garden itself.
Plots cost $25 per year, along with a volunteer commitment to help with other efforts. Plots are available on a first-come, first-served basis, although no ADA-accessible plots remain. Anyone looking for a plot is encouraged to contact the garden.
Jaime Jensen, current president of Garden Friendly Community Fort Bragg (GFCFB), gave an update on the garden. Matt Drewno, a member of the advisory board and another key player in the effort, thanked the Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund, which serves as the nonprofit umbrella that allows GFCFB to take tax-deductible donations. Members from the Fort Bragg Food Bank, Bee Bold, Conservation Works, Noyo Food Forest, Sakina’s Starts, Fort Bragg Garden Club and the City of Fort Bragg all came to help unveil the South Lincoln Street Community Garden for Garden Friendly Community Fort Bragg.
More gardens are planned, with the next in line adjacent to Thanksgiving Coffee in Noyo Harbor, a property blessed with fruit trees and cursed with parking challenges.
This is the first garden created by GFCFB. It is on the south side of the CV Starr Center, and consists of in-ground beds, raised beds (accessible to those in a wheelchair), city water, a hoop house, a tool shed, pollinator garden areas, fruit trees and parking in the CV Starr Center lot. The garden is fully deer-fenced.
Construction started in February 2021 on the South Lincoln garden.
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