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Villa-Parke Community Garden Opens April 26, 2014!

Villa-Parke Community Garden Opens April 26, 2014!

 PASADENA FAMILIES NOW CAN GROW OWN FRESH FRUITS & VEGGIES  

PASADENA, Calif.—A special blessing today, Saturday, April 26, 2014, for the new Villa-Parke Community Garden by local Aztec dancers marked the “Earth Day Weekend” beginning of a healthier lifestyle for 30 Pasadena families with children who can now grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Thanks to a new City-County-Non-Profit partnership, the Villa-Parke Community Garden is providing a healthy, garden-to-table experience for these young families and their children.  The goal is to help reduce the obesity epidemic among children by helping families have ready access to–and the satisfaction of growing and preparing their own—fresh fruits and vegetables.  The garden is one of eight being constructed throughout Los Angeles County under the Little Green Fingers program. 

In Pasadena, the Villa-Parke Community Garden partners include the City; Los Angeles County's Little Green Fingers program—supported by First 5 LA, LA Conservation Corps and the LA Neighborhood Land Trust—and a five-year, $100,000 grant from the private nonprofit foundation, the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy.  The Conservancy, a fund of the Pasadena Community Foundation, will help fund a University of California-certified Master Gardener and a nutritionist. 

“We welcome the Villa-Parke Community Garden as a valuable asset to Pasadena.  This first-of-its-kind rooftop garden and the related nutrition program for Pasadena families with young children will allow them to grow healthy food and embark on a healthier lifestyle.  We look forward to watching this model garden grow into a model for all of Pasadena,” Mayor Bill Bogaard said. 

State Assemblymember Chris Holden, 44th District, said he is a proud supporter of the garden project.  “As a resident of Northwest Pasadena and State Assemblymember for this area, I am delighted to see that Pasadena families will be able to grow their own produce in their own neighborhood.  This community garden is one part of a greater plan to promote healthier lifestyles in the city of Pasadena and I am a proud supporter of those efforts.” 

The grand opening event began with a spiritual blessing of the garden by Danza Yankuititl, a troupe of local Aztec-themed dancers, and a song by the Head Start Preschool Choir. 

Aztec Dancers 

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Dignitaries on hand for the opening included Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard; California Assembly Member Chris Holden; State Senator Carol Liu, First 5 LA Commissioner Duane Dennis; Dan Knapp, Deputy Director of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps; Alina Bokde, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and Jessica Korzenecki, Board Chair, Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy. 

The event included a healthy luncheon provided by the Little Green Fingers Program; free arts-and-crafts activities for children; testimonials from a young girl and her grandmother about their love of gardening and a tree planting ceremony by First 5 LA officials, City and Conservancy representatives. 

Currently, there are 31 garden plots, with seven still available.  The plots are all raised-bed gardens up on the rooftop of the Villa-Parke Community Center, 363 E. Villa St.  Families interested in using a rooftop garden plot should contact Bill Davis, (626) 744-6523, bdavis@cityofpasadena.net. 

“The Villa-Parke Community Garden repurposes a relatively unused roof-top space at Villa-Parke to allow families to grow fresh, healthy food,” said Mercy Santoro, Director of Pasadena’s Human Services and Recreation Department.  “We’re creating the opportunity for outdoor recreation, physical activity, and community engagement.”  

The community gardeners will receive ongoing classes from the master gardener as well as free cooking and nutrition classes, Santoro said. 

“We are hoping that working in the raised beds each week with an experienced Master Gardener and a certified nutritionist will truly inspire the community gardeners," said Eileen White Read, Founder, CEO and President, Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy. 

"When you pull your own vegetables out of the soil, or pick fruits off your own bushes, they become special, almost revered.  We can't wait for the new gardeners to experience this feeling, and for this to translate—with the help of these experts—into positive changes in their eating and cooking and exercise habits,” Ms. Read said. 

Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy is a "homegrown" nonprofit organization, created by 30 civic leaders and the Pasadena Community Foundation in 2012 with a mission to improve family health in Pasadena’s Northwest neighborhoods through support of community gardens and nutrition education. 

For more information, email pasadenaconservancy@gmail.com or visit www.pasadenacgc.org. Donations to the new garden can be made online to the Pasadena Community Foundation, www.pasadenacf.org. 

Stay connected to the City of Pasadena!  Visit us online at www.cityofpasadena.net; follow us on Twitter @PasadenaGov, www.twitter.com/pasadenagov, and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cityofpasadena.  Or call the Citizen Service Center, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (626) 744-7311. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2014 #028-14  

NEWS MEDIA CONTACTS: Ruben Aronin, Little Green Fingers, (310) 612-5663, ruben@betterworldgroup.comEileen White Read, Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy, (202)-641-0779, eileenwhiteread@gmail.com, or William H. Boyer, Pasadena Public Information Officer, City Manager’s Office, (626) 744-4755, wboyer@cityofpasadena.net 

Aztec drummer 4 web 

VILLA-PARKE COMMUNITY GARDEN FACT SHEET 

  • Villa-Parke Community Garden, at the Villa-Parke Community Center, 363 E. Villa Street, is one of eight family garden projects being constructed throughout Los Angeles County under the Little Green Fingers program. 
  • In Pasadena, the community garden is a City-County-Non-Profit partnership including the City; Los Angeles County's Little Green Fingers program—supported by First 5 LA, LA Conservation Corps and the LA Neighborhood Land Trust—and the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy. 
  • Currently, there are 31 garden plots, with seven still available.  The plots are all raised-bed gardens up on the rooftop of the Villa-Parke Community Center.  Families interested in using a garden plot should contact Bill Davis, (626) 744-6523, bdavis@cityofpasadena.net. 
  • Website Links: 

            www.cityofpasadena.net      www.cityofpasadena.net/HumanServices 

            www.pasadenacgc.org      www.littlegreenfingersla.org 

            www.first5la.org      www.lacorps.org      www.lanlt.org 

 GARDEN PROGRAM GOALS: 

  • Help reduce the obesity epidemic among children by providing families with garden-to-table access–and the satisfaction of growing and preparing—their own fresh fruits and vegetables. 
  • Be a role model for other food gardens & energize community-wide movement in urban farming. 
  • Support the City of Pasadena’s Healthy Eating, Active Living Resolution passed by the City Council April 25, 2011 to encourage healthy food choices, promote physical activity and prevent obesity. 
  • Align with Pasadena’s 2013-16 School/City/Community Work Plan by ensuring students have access to fresh food to promote healthier outcomes for Pasadena’s youth. 
  • Repurpose relatively unused roof-top space to allow families to grow fresh, healthy food; give residents a new opportunity for outdoor recreation, physical activity, and community engagement. 

PASADENA COMMUNITY GARDENS CONSERVANCY: 

  • Formed in June 2012 as a “homegrown” donor collective by more than 30 avid gardeners, and as a fund of the Pasadena Community Foundation, the Conservancy is helping to improve family health in Pasadena’s Northwest neighborhood by supporting community gardens and nutrition education. 
  • Five-year funding pledge of $100,000, or $20,000 annually, to support a University of California-certified Master Gardener to teach gardening to families with garden plots and another 80 pupils through the Head Start garden at Villa-Parke Community Center. 
  • To date, more than 200 donor pledges, from $25 and up, to support the garden program. 
  • Funds also will help support a nutritionist to teach cooking, diet, and nutrition classes to the community garden and to the Head Start families. 
  • For more information, email pasadenaconservancy@gmail.com or visit www.pasadenacgc.org. 
  • Donations to the new garden and/or the Conservancy’s efforts can be made online to the Pasadena Community Foundation, www.pasadenacf.org. 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2014 #029-14 

NEWS MEDIA CONTACTS: Ruben Aronin, Little Green Fingers, (310) 612-5663, ruben@betterworldgroup.comEileen White Read, Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy, (202)-641-0779, eileenwhiteread@gmail.com, or William H. Boyer, Pasadena Public Information Officer, City Manager’s Office, (626) 744-4755, wboyer@cityofpasadena.net 

 

Aztec Dancers 4 web 2 

For Immediate Release- 

 Little Green Fingers logo 4 web 

MORE THAN JUST ROSES BLOOMING AT NEW LITTLE GREEN FINGERS PASADENA COMMUNITY FOOD GARDEN  

 Earth Day Weekend Grand Opening Celebration of Villa-Parke Community Center Rooftop Garden; Garden to Help Fight Obesity Epidemic Among Young Children
Saturday, April 26th from 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.,363 E. Villa Street, Pasadena 91101 
 

 

April 26, 2014, Pasadena – Today, The Little Green Fingers children’s garden collaborative celebrates the grand opening of its third garden in Los Angeles County at the Villa-Parke Community Center, the first of its kind in Pasadena designed especially for families with young children under the age of five.  

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, California State Assembly Member Chris Holden and LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich all will be part of the grand opening program, which begins promptly at 11 a.m. Other featured speakers will include First 5 LA Commissioner Duane Dennis, Dan Knapp, Deputy Director of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and Alina Bokde, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. The event will feature free food and arts and crafts activities for children and their families to celebrate the grand opening during Earth Day Weekend. One of the highlights of the program will include testimonials from three community gardeners, including a young girl and her grandmother demonstrating the intergenerational benefits of community gardening. 

“We welcome the Villa-Parke Community Garden as a valuable asset to Pasadena. This first-of-its-kind rooftop community garden and the related nutrition program for Pasadena families with young children will allow them to grow healthy fruits and vegetables and embark on a healthier lifestyle. We look forward to watching this model garden grow into a model for all of Pasadena,” Mayor Bill Bogaard said.  

“We are so pleased to be able to provide the funding to construct and operate the Little Green Fingers garden in Pasadena,” said Duane Dennis, First 5 LA Commissioner. “Partnering with the Villa-Parke Community Center and the co-located Head Start program, along with the additional generous support from the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy will ensure the community gardeners will get the resources and support they need to make this garden thrive. With one in five children in Los Angeles County being either overweight or obese, it is critical to provide young children and their families with the ability to grow their own healthy foods to help combat this problem.” 

The innovative Little Green Fingers garden initiative is made possible thanks to a grant from First 5 LA. The initiative aims to help address the obesity epidemic among children in Los Angeles by providing fresh fruits and vegetables, along with gardening and nutrition education. The project is being spearheaded by the non-profit Los Angeles Conservation Corps, the LA Neighborhood Land Trust (LANLT) and an extraordinary team of garden, nutrition and health experts. The garden has 30 raised garden beds and planters, including beds and fruit trees located in the outdoor Head Start area, a play and gardening area for young children, and a shade structure, which all were selected by community members during an extensive public design process facilitated by Glen Dake and Miguel Luna from DakeLuna Consultants, the landscape architect and community engagement liaison for the project. 

 LA Conservation Corps Director Bruce Saito noted that the Little Green Fingers initiative is a win-win for the community and for the Corps. “Our Corpsmembers are proud to have built this garden for the residents of Pasadena. Not only does constructing these gardens provide our corpsmembers with important job training skills, but they also get to see first-hand how their hard work and dedication can make a great impact in the lives of Pasadena’s youngest residents by helping them to eat healthier.” 

“The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust is excited to work with the community gardeners to help them make this garden their own,” remarked Alina Bokde, Executive Director of the LANLT. “We help bring community members into the garden, develop their leadership skills, and give them the resources they need to make this a thriving community hub.” 

The grand opening event will kick off with a pre-program at 10:30 a.m. with a blessing of the garden by Danza Yankuititl, a troupe of local Aztec dancers, and a song by the Head Start Preschool Choir, followed by the formal program at 11 a.m. Featured activities at the event will include a “rainbow” salad demonstration by Whole Foods Pasadena, art activities and face painting for children, and community resource booths.   

In addition to the garden site improvements, the community gardeners will be receiving ongoing classes from a Master Gardener as well as free cooking and nutrition classes made possible with the additional support of the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy. 

The Villa-Parke garden is the third garden to be completed by Little Green Fingers. The Koreatown Mariposa-Nabi Garden and the West Athens Victory Garden were the first to be completed. Other gardens that will be opening in 2014 include: the El Cariso Mountain Garden in Sylmar, whose grand opening is May 17; a garden at the Cedar Ridge Apartments, a low-income housing development in Lancaster, which will begin construction in May; and a garden on the grounds of the Historic General Hospital in East Los Angeles, slated to begin construction this fall.

About Little Green Fingers
First 5 LA awarded a five-year grant to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps to help address the obesity epidemic in Los Angeles by creating a children’s garden collaborative for young children and their families called Little Green Fingers. The initiative will construct eight community gardens in underserved communities throughout Los Angeles County. The gardens will provide a minimum of 6,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables each year and will feature on site amenities and programs targeting families with children ages 0-5.  The Little Green Fingers team of experts includes: First 5 LA - providing funding for planning and construction; Los Angeles Conservation Corps program oversight and garden construction; Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust - land acquisition, community organizing and leadership development; Nicole Gatto (epidemiologist and health science researcher at Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health overseeing project evaluation ); DakeLuna Consultants - landscape architecture and community organizing; UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program - gardening and nutrition education; and The Better World Group - strategic outreach and communications.

About the LA Conservation Corps
The Los Angeles Conservation Corps is a 501(c)3 private non-profit organization founded in 1986 by former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Trade Ambassador Mickey Kantor.  Its primary mission is to provide underprivileged young adults and school-aged youth with opportunities for success through job skills training, education and work experience with an emphasis on conservation and service projects that benefit the community.  The LA Corps is a national leader in workforce development and alternative education for inner-city youth and is currently the largest urban conservation corps in the nation with a full-time staff of over 150 employees serving 16,000 young people each year.  For more information, please visit
www.lacorps.org.  

About the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust
The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust’s mission is to build healthier, stronger and safer neighborhoods through the creation of urban parks and community gardens in underserved, low-income communities in park-poor areas. Our goal is to improve residents’ health and quality of life by providing access to healthy foods, and safe green spaces to exercise and recreate. We empower residents to transform their neighborhoods and serve as stewards of their spaces. This unique and highly effective business model delivers parks and gardens where they are needed most, eliminating bureaucracy and assuring long term sustainability. For more information, please visit
www.lanlt.org 

About the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy
The Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve health in Pasadena’s densely populated, urban “food desert” neighborhoods through community gardens & urban farming. For more information, please visit
www.pasadenacgc.org 

 

Littel Green Fingers Fact Sheet Page 1 

 

Little Green Fingers Fact Sheet Page 2 

 GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION OF VILLA-PARKE COMMUNITY GARDEN 

The public is invited and encouraged to celebration a special "Earth Day Weekend" event noting the opening of the Villa-Parke Community Garden, 363 E. Villa Street, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday. April 26, 2014.

The event marks the beginning of a "garden-to-table" healthy lifestyle and urban farming experience for as many as 30 families with young children from the Northwest & Villa-Parke neighborhoods in which they will be have the satisfaction of growing and eating their own fresh fruits and vegetables.

The grand opening event will began with a spiritual blessing of the garden by Danza Yankuititl, a troupe of local Aztec-themed dancers, and a song by the Head Start Preschool Choir.  

The garden program is the result of a new City-County-Non-Profit partnership, including the City; Los Angeles County's Little Green Fingers program—supported by First 5 LA, LA Conservation Corps and the LA Neighborhood Land Trust—and a five-year, $100,000 grant from the private nonprofit foundation, the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy.  The Conservancy, a fund of the Pasadena Community Foundation, will help fund a University of California-certified Master Gardener and a nutritionist.  

 The garden is one of eight being constructed throughout Los Angeles County under the Little Green Fingers program. 

VPCG promo pic 4 web 

 Dignitaries scheduled to be on hand for the opening included Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard; California Assembly Member Chris Holden; LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich; First 5 LA Commissioner Duane Dennis; Dan Knapp, Deputy Director of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps; Alina Bokde, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and Jessica Korzenecki, Board Chair, Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy.  

Currently, there are 31 garden plots, with seven still available.  Families interested in using a rooftop garden plot should contact Bill Davis, (626) 744-6523, bdavis@cityofpasadena.net. 

 Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy is a "homegrown" nonprofit organization, created by 30 civic leaders and the Pasadena Community Foundation in 2012 with a mission to improve family health in Pasadena’s Northwest neighborhoods through support of community gardens and nutrition education. 

 For more information, email pasadenaconservancy@gmail.com or visit www.pasadenacgc.org. Donations to the new garden can be made online to the Pasadena Community Foundation, www.pasadenacf.org. 

 Stay connected to the City of Pasadena!  Visit us online at www.cityofpasadena.net; follow us on Twitter @PasadenaGov, www.twitter.com/pasadenagov, and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cityofpasadena.  Or call the Citizen Service Center, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (626) 744-7311. 

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Posted: 4/28/2014 08:00:00 AM