Ground broke on a downtown Ceres lot on Feb. 27 for the new Ceres Community Garden intended to grow vegetables for those interested.
Shane Parson is making his 6,500-square-foot lot - located at the southeast corner of Fifth and Lawrence streets - available for the community to grow produce like corn, green beans, carrots, turnips, okra and tomatoes under a community coalition of private and public groups. The plan is to plant at the end of this month.
Parson introduced goats to eat the grass growing on the lot for the first phase of starting the garden. Later in the day, Ceres native and candidate for Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Shannon Sanford donated her time and tractor for tilling the ground.
"We are so excited to see the garden start to come to life," said Cambria Pollinger, Recreation Supervisor for the city of Ceres.
The garden is being organized by CivicSpark, a Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address water management issues.
"We haven't made decisions about all of the details yet," said Sara Kuo of CivicSpark. "Shane Parson owns the land and he's been really helpful in connecting us with resources. He's also able to ask for donations because we do need to have a lot of the materials donated."
She's hopeful that local home improvement stores will donate plants for the community garden. Parson has pledged to donate wood from his rural ranch that could be used to build raised beds.
As far as who gets the vegetables from the garden, Kuo is suggesting distribution through organizations which are already helping to feed others in the community as well as prioritizing members in need and those who volunteer.
"So people who volunteer in the garden, who do work for us, of course we want to reward them with produce that's produced in the garden. No one can just come in and take whatever they want. We want to make the garden as inclusive as possible and make it so that any groups or individuals who want to get involved can get involved."
The city is planning to provide the water for the garden as well as vegetable washing stations.
Volunteers would be needed to help organize volunteers as well as a ground manager to help water and maintain weeds and someone to track donations. Persons interested in the project may email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Ceres Community Garden Facebook page.