Category Archives: Community Gardens

Menlo Park has a Creative Solution for our State's Water Shortage

It might seem odd to bring up our state’s water shortage after a period of very heavy rains, but the state’s Department of Water Resources notes that we are still in the fourth year of a drought and that the reservoirs are still well below their average.  Last year, there was serious talk of water rationing.

Arguably, the best way to save water begins with the design of one’s yard.  This is such an important issue that the State passed the Water Conservation in Landscaping Act of 2006.  Cities must now adopt a water efficient landscape ordinance.  While the City has technically complied with this act, they’ve done little to actually promote water conversation.

Other cities are doing much more at little to no cost to their budgets.  Menlo Park is considering an stronger ordinance based on Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency guidelines.  They may go even beyond these guidelines and apply these rules to new, smaller residences and those doing renovations.  Menlo Park already limits the amount of a homes’ landscaped area to 25 percent and restricts the time at which one can water their lawns.

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Why I'm Happy to be a Member of LEAF

Most of the week I’m busy with email, software development, spreadsheets, Word documents, etc. By the end of the week I long for something real; something I can touch and manipulate with my hands.

That is why one rainy Sunday afternoon in February, I joined many members of Local Ecology and Agriculture Fremont (LEAF) to help trim fruit trees at the Niles Nursery. I also helped rip apart a neglected old church garden in Irvington. Together we pulled out weeds and trash, then rototilled and raked the 30’ x 30’ site into a peaceful blank canvas of dirt. Over the next few weeks LEAF will be installing fencing, laying out drip irrigation, and planting vegetables that will be ready to harvest in late spring.

LEAF is a new non-profit that plans to help start dozens of community gardens around Fremont over the next few years. We will teach people which vegetables grow well together (like “The Three Sisters “- corn, beans and squash) and how to fight garden pests without hazardous chemical pesticides. We will mobilize teams of gardeners to convert land around town to more productive uses than growing fescue grass or oxalis.

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