Sierra Gardens Are Thriving, Thanks to Our Volunteer Garden Builders

Children delight in the backyard garden at the Love Joy Playschool, sponsored by Sierra Harvest | Lenkaland Photography

Sierra Harvest believes that a tomato that travels a few feet from your backyard to your kitchen tastes better than one that was shipped in a truck from hundreds of miles away. We also believe that everybody should have access to delicious, fresh, locally grown food. But not everyone has the knowledge to grow their own food, or the money to get a vegetable garden started.

That’s why we started the Sierra Garden program three years ago. The Sierra Gardens program provides families, organizations and agencies with gardens, starts, seeds, mentorship, and cooking and gardening classes to establish thriving food gardens. And it also brings the community together in myriad ways.

Participants are learning how to cook with produce that they grow themselves, and inviting friends and family to the table. Last year 92% of the 1250 Sierra Gardens participants shared some of the 4830 pounds of produce that they grew in their own gardens with friends and neighbors. These are people who previously grew NONE of their own food. (68% of program participants did not grow any of their own food before they joined the program.) Here are some more feel good facts that make us happy:

  • We now have 53 gardens — 70% of gardeners received scholarships.
  • 100% of participants now grow 25%-100% of the produce their families eat.
  • 83% reduction in participants who regularly had to skip a meal.
  • 66% increase in participant children who eat fresh vegetables and 50% increase in kids who like to garden.

The sharing works multiple ways — we could not have gotten the gardens in without an AMAZING crew of volunteers and an incredible community that supports our Sierra Gardens scholarship program. Sierra Harvest would like to thank the following volunteers for helping to build gardens this spring:

  • Bluebird
  • Christian Gutt
  • Cristine Kelly
  • Jack Kuehn
  • Kelly McElravey
  • Larry Diminyatz
  • Martin Engel
  • Matt Marquet
  • Mike McElravey
  • Mira Earles
  • Sabrina Dodaj
  • Sammie BassIf you are interested in becoming a mentor with the Sierra Gardens program, would like your own Sierra Garden or want to provide a scholarship for a low income family, please contact Edy Cassell at 530-265-2343.