"Seeds for a Healthy Tomorrow"
The latest CATA mural, located at Whole Foods Market Redwood City, was painted by local artist Marlon Yanes. Titled Seeds for a Healthy Tomorrow, the mural promotes the message that we can develop healthier lifestyles through eating whole foods, gardening, and engaging with local food initiatives. A community garden in front of the mural is maintained by Incredible Edible Mid-Peninsula, a local nonprofit focused on growing a healthier Redwood City through edible landscapes and community gardens.
For more information about the community garden and how to get your hands dirty, visit the Incredible Edible Mid-Peninsula website.
COMMUNITY GARDENS AND URBAN EDIBLE LANDSCAPES
Community gardens are, in the words of Marin Master Gardeners, “any piece of land gardened by a group of people, utilizing either individual or shared plots on private or public land.” Gardens can include produce like fruits and vegetables or ornamental plants like flowers.
While community gardens and urban edible landscapes may be used as interchangeable terms, there can be subtle differences. Rather than a space open to and actively maintained by the community, urban edible landscapes are often smaller plots of city land with integrated edible plants, frequently cultivated and maintained by a single public or private group. The produce from the landscape may be open to casual public consumption or collected for specific organizations like food banks. Edible landscaping can add utility to purely aesthetic landscaping while diversifying the local, nutritious food options available in urban settings.
Both community gardens and urban edible landscapes are mechanisms for community building and wellness education. Groups such as Incredible Edible Mid-Peninsula believe that the “community is enriched when all residents have access to good, local fruits and vegetables and are engaged in the process.”
Why does this matter?
Community gardening and urban edible landscapes encourage individuals to actively interact with and consume more produce, resulting in more exercise and healthier eating habits. According to a 2013 report by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “half of the total U.S. population consumed <1 cup of fruit and <1.5 cups of vegetables daily; 76% did not meet fruit intake recommendations, and 87% did not meet vegetable intake recommendations.”
It is especially critical that children develop healthy eating and exercise habits to avoid obesity and poor nutrition. Childhood obesity can put children at high risk for conditions such as asthma, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. According to the CDC, “the percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) has obesity.”
The social nature of community gardening can allow individuals of all ages to strengthen friendships and their sense of belonging. Gardens and gardening can also help gardeners and passerby to relax, improving mental health.
Finally, community gardens and urban edible landscapes help to replace impervious structures and improve water infiltration, reduce neighborhood waste through composting, and positively impact the urban microclimates (source).
In Redwood City:
Incredible Edible Mid-Peninsula: Local non-profit that partners with the Redwood City Parks & Rec and CityTrees to dedicate public spaces to grow fruit trees and identify lots to start community gardens for those who don’t have their own plots
CityTrees: A volunteer group, formed in May of 2000, to promote and support urban forestry efforts in Redwood City
Other local orgs focused on gardening, local foods, and sustainability:
Sustainable San Mateo County: Local non-profit dedicated to the long-term health of our county’s economy, environment and social equity.
Farming Hope: Empowers people out of homelessness through training and employment in our community gardens and dinners.
Collective Roots: Non-profit in East Palo Alto that aims to cultivate a healthier, stronger, more connected East Palo Alto community (EPA) by working together to build a robust community-based food system
3 B’s: Birds, Bees and Beans — San Mateo County zoning codes for agriculture, birds, and bees.
Other Legal, Logistical, and Community Outreach resources from Marin Master Gardeners