A couple of weeks ago we had the distinct pleasure of touring Verde Gardens, a more than decade-long experiment in community and sustainability at an elementary school in North Richmond. North Richmond, an unincorporated are of the San Francisco Bay Area has a long history of economic and environmental injustices and Verde Partnership Garden is one of many projects working to counter some of the negative trends in the area.
It was an uncharacteristically cold spring day when we went to the gardens, but that didn't stop the kids from flocking to it. We arrived just after an egg hunt and the kids had to return to class, but at each breaks, kids would return to the garden, choosing to spend their recess pulling weeds, harvesting vegetables, fruits and herbs, or just hanging out with the garden leaders.
David and Bienvenida gave us our tour. Their enthusiasm was infectious and their knowledge formidable. As they pointed out what was growing in the garden they told stories about past projects the kids had done with that particular plant or described uses for it and it's significance to the community. They related stories of their experiments with different forms of compost, types of soils and best conditions for growing.
It was only halfway through our tour that we realized Bienvenida and David were mother and son. David had been coming to the garden since he was in first grade and is now working at Verde Garden as well as spearheading other garden projects, as a full-time passion.
We look forward to meeting up with David and Bienvenida again and finding out more about their ongoing commitments to creating a greener and more socially just Richmond.