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Veggies on the way
A number of youngsters turned out with parents and group leaders on Saturday morning to plant vegetables in the Ceres Community Garden. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

A group of volunteers planted a variety of vegetable and herb plants on May 19.

The Ceres Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting celebrating the grand opening of the new downtown Community Garden at 3004 Fifth Street at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29. Residents are invited to attend.

Food, beverages and music will be featured. Members of the City Council have been invited to take part in an official planting during the ceremony.

Sarah Kuo and Kathleen Falk are CivicSpark Water Fellows placed in the city of Ceres Public Works Department. As AmeriCorps members, it is a requirement during the service year to complete a volunteer engagement project. Kuo had worked on community gardens in Masaya, Nicaragua and Stockton, prior to her placement in Ceres, so she pitched the idea to her site supervisors, Jeremy Damas and Loretta Webb.

The fellows were informed that a garden was something community members had been wanting and had previously attempted unsuccessfully.

Since its inception by Kuo and Falk, over 60 residents and local organizations have joined the efforts in developing the garden, including Shane Parson, owner of the property, and Mark and Shella Joiner, who live next to and are proprietors across the street from the garden.

"We are so excited on how the garden is taking shape and how the community is getting involved in such a great project,"" said Shella Joiner. "It's been a lot of work, but seeing city residents come out to volunteer, business owners donate, and everyone just working together to make this come to life is an amazing thing."

The vision for the garden is that it will:

• Serve to provide fresh produce that prioritizes those most in need in the Ceres community;

• Becomes an education and recreational space for all to enjoy;

• Offers an example of water conservations, sustainability and community resilience.

According to Joiner, the garden is intended to become a space for residents to grow their own food, for organizations to strengthen ties to the community through educational programs, and for community members to come together around the joy of collaboration and cultivation.