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Neighbors plot homegrown food Robert Moreno | Sat, Feb 22 2014 12:00 PM

Residents in Chula Vista will soon be able to have more access to organic vegetables once a local community garden is completed.

Chula Vista’s first community garden will be located at 960 Fifth Ave., in a lot directly behind the South Bay Baptist Church.

Judy Jacoby, founder and president of the San Diego Community Garden Network, said while the church owns the land where the community garden is located, the garden is not affiliated with the church.

“The garden is basically for anybody who lives in Chula Vista,” Jacoby said.

The one-acre garden is finally coming to fruition after nearly two years of planning and two weeks into development.

Jacoby said grants and fundraisers fund the cost of the garden.

The garden, Jacoby said, will be used for more than planting and picking vegetables.

“The idea of the garden is to provide not only a place to garden, but also a place for people in the community to come and meet and do things,” she said. “We’re trying to incorporate art in the garden, and science in the garden, and any other types of things that people decide they would like to do there,” she said.

Jacoby said current plans for the garden include hosting a living laboratory class for science, technology, engineering and math courses. 

Helping with the community garden are community members and Chula Vista City Council candidates Mike Spethman and Burt Grossman.

While both men didn’t get their hands dirty, they voluntarily provided resources to help the garden come to life.
Spethman  said he provided his expertise and knowledge by helping install the irrigation system in the garden.

Spethman said the residents of Chula Vista could benefit from a community garden.

“It encourages healthy eating, it’s a family project, it brings families together,” he said. 

With his work through his Able-Disabled Advocacy—a non-profit organization that provides occupational skills training and job, placement opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities—Grossman enlisted about 10 youth and young adults to help in the construction of the garden.

Grossman said working on the community garden gives the youth in his organization an opportunity to work as well as to give back to the community.

“They get to meet people in the community and see what their needs are,” Grossman said.

The garden will be managed by local gardeners, Jacoby said.

Jacoby said residents can grow tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, cilantro and peppers, the list she said doesn’t end there.

The garden will also serve as a composting site for the city of Chula Vista.

A grand opening is scheduled for April 19.

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