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Riverside, CA: ACGA Board Member Yvonne Savio in the News

  • Subject: [cg] Riverside, CA: ACGA Board Member Yvonne Savio in the News
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2004 10:22:41 EDT


So far it's two ACGA Board Members in the papers this month, promoting greening or community gardening - Daniel Winterbottom, in the NY Times, and now Yvonne Savio, in the Riverside Press Enterprise!

The West Coast is doing pretty good, so far.

Adam Honigman
Clinton Community Garden

Gardens have fresh appeal

Inland folks dig growing number of community patches

01:33 AM PDT on Saturday, June 26, 2004

By SANDRA STOKLEY / The Press-Enterprise

GLEN AVON - To most people, this month's gray mornings spell "gloom," as in "June gloom."

Not Kathleen Cook.

"It's perfect weather for planting," Cook said, scanning the leaden skies, a trowel in one hand and tomato plant in the other.

The energetic 91-year-old, clad in a red-checked flannel shirt to ward off the morning chill, was one of about a dozen seniors who began digging up the earth this week at the Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center's community garden.

Located on a 1-acre patch of land at the Cultural Center's Granite Hill Drive compound, the community garden offers seniors a chance to get back in touch with nature while growing their own fresh vegetables.

For Cook, a lifelong gardening enthusiast, there are other benefits as well.

"I wanted to socialize with people with similar interests," the Rubidoux resident said.

The Glen Avon garden is the latest in a growing number of Inland area community gardens, including one at the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice's Heritage Park site on Mission Boulevard.

Other gardens are located in the cities of Riverside, Redlands, San Bernardino and in Mead Valley.

Yvonne Savio, who serves on the board of the Ameican Community Gardening Association and manages the Common Ground Program in Los Angeles, said an increase in community gardens nationwide is prompted by concerns about pesticide use on commercially grown produce.

Taste is another issue, she said.

"When you're growing your own produce, you get to pick it at the moment you want it," Savio said. "You're letting the produce tell you the moment it's ripest."

Pesticides and freshness is what got Rubidoux resident Willa Rapstine, 67, involved at the Cultural Center's garden.

"You can buy food in stores that is possibly cheaper, but you have to deal with produce that is grown by commercial growers," Rapstine said.

She is planting a cornucopia of vegetables: squash, beans, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers.

Rapstine is not only a gardening fan. She's an enthusiastic booster of community gardens.

"There should be gardens all over for people who need it, to beautify the community and for children, to give them an appreciation of nature," she said.

Buck Hemenway, project director for the Cultural Center, said the cost of setting up the garden - clearing the land and building the beds, installing a watering system and buying the tools - was underwritten by a grant from "Food For All."

The Virginia-based organization funds anti-hunger programs in the United States and worldwide.

The Eddie Dee Smith Senior Center and Summerville at Villa De Anza, a senior residential and assisted-living facility, are busing in seniors twice a week.

Nestor Aasen, 83, said the garden gives him more space than the planter boxes he keeps at Summerville.

Bob Craig, co-director of the Smith Senior Center said only six seniors have signed up so far. But he expects the number to increase as word spreads.

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