The last couple of months have been busy at the LA Conservation Corps’ East LA Center. Crews of young people have completed all the preparation work to enhance the soil in the garden to maximize our harvest once the planting begins. This work included tilling the entire site, excavating the upper and lower plots, and spreading mulch and compost to enrich the soil’s nutrients.
Additionally, our corpsmembers laid jute (a material made of coarse biodegradable vegetable fibers that prevents erosion while allowing plants to get established) across the hillside, formerly home to weeds and tree stumps. Vines, such as watermelons and pumpkins, will be planted in this area to utilize as much growing space as possible! Crews also excavated the garden’s entry way and internal road and built a new set of stairs out of recycled and newly-laid concrete, accessible from Mott Street. This will allow another point of entrance for garden visitors that avoids vehicle traffic.
An exciting development that will occur this summer is a Volunteer Day with 50 employees from Federal Express! Our friends from FedEx will provide funding and muscle-power to build a wooden deck, adjacent to the existing gazebo that will provide an outdoor classroom for students and workshop space for community events. We have worked with FedEx volunteers at other project sites and we know that they always bring their A-game: skills, enthusiasm and plain hard work! We can’t wait to get started!
Thanks to your support, we have now laid a solid foundation for the East LA Community Garden and Urban Farm! Our corpsmembers are not only learning valuable construction skills, but putting them into action to create green space in their own community. Thank you again for your donation to our garden!
Coming soon: a video update from our corpsmembers!
Thanks to our supporters, the East LA Community Garden & Urban Farm has completed the first phase in its planned renovation! The dilapidated garden beds that had been abandoned for more than a decade were removed, the gazebo which will be retained has been sanded in preparation for painting and repairs, and trash and debris that had accumulated around old storage sheds have all been cleared away. In the last two months, our corps members have begun grading the hillside to level out the growing space, removed dead and diseased trees and will begin excavating old irrigation pipes in two weeks to make way for a new system to be installed.
Our partners at Farmworks LA (FWLA) have been finalizing the design plans, which will include a wooden deck adjacent to the gazebo for outdoor classes and community workshops (the updated plan will be posted soon!) Additionally, FWLA has created an off-site nursery where under-served youth are germinating seeds in anticipation of a late spring/early summer planting.
Corpsmember Jose Carreon Padilla, who drove the Bobcat while the crew was working on grading and extracting large tree stumps, says "when the garden is finished I hope that the community gets closer and help(s) each other. I want to see the garden grow and produce many types of fruits and veggies. What I'm hoping is to see people enjoy their produce and be happy working together to improve the community."
Guadalupe Rosales is a 22 year-old corpsmember who has been at the LA Corps for 16 months. She noted "some of the things students could learn from coming to the garden will be that locally grown food is sustainable and better for them." She is looking forward to having more space to grow a bigger variety of plants.
The next phase will be to dig trenches for the irrigation lines and to shore up the small road that is used for vehicles and construction equipment. Stay tuned for more updates and thank you again for helping to make this dream garden a reality!
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