Open Door Community Health Centers operates five community gardens within Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. The youngest of these gardens started in August of this year across the street from the Eureka Community Health and Wellness Center at 2200 Tydd St. This garden was planted by Open Door staff and neighbor volunteers and, like the other Open Door gardens, provides a space for the community to learn how to grow food and reap the countless other benefits of gardening. Volunteers help with weeding, planting, harvesting and any other garden activities including enjoying the bounty of fresh, deliciousproduce grown organically. Open Door staff, patients, neighbors and the community in general are encouraged to get involved.
This small garden on Tydd St. provides a lot. A variety of crops are grown including broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, garlic, onions, beets, cabbage, endive herbs and flowers. The plan is to grow as much food as possible by using organic methods, crop rotation, and feeding the soil that ultimately feeds the people. A three-compartment compost bin is being built to add to the nutrients that feed the garden beds while reducing the waste that adds to landfills. There is a small greenhouse for seedling starts and season extension. An herb spiral is planned to be installed in the next few months, providing a functional, appealing and permanent space for perennial culinary herbs.
The garden is only a little over 3,000 square feet, but it has produced a surprising amount of yield in this first season of its operation–over 250 pounds of produce has been grown and donated in just the past month! Volunteers harvest weekly and bring the bounty to Silvercrest (a neighboring elder apartment complex), Open Door Member Services office (in Burre Center—anyone may go there for assistance with Covered California, Medi-Cal, CalFresh, and other resources), or to Eureka Community Health and Wellness Center. These harvest distributions bring free, nutritious, fresh-as-can-be, tasty produce to folks who may not have access to healthy food otherwise.
Besides the measured benefit of producing pounds and pounds of fresh food, this and all other community gardens provide us with so much more that cannot necessarily be quantified. Gardening relieves stress and anxiety, promotes physical activity, gets neighbors together beautifying their neighborhoods, and empowers all who take part in growing their own healthy food. Gardens help their communities and gardens need their community’s help. The Eureka Community Health and Wellness garden is functioning because of community support and involvement; join the fun by volunteering and enjoy all the benefits this and the other Open Door gardens provide!