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Ventura County Editorial: Improving our community one lot at a time

George Laubender (left) and Don Helm inspect stalks of corn at the Dr. Manuel M. Lopez Community Garden in Oxnard.
(Photo: Jeremy Foster/Special To The Star)

New York University researchers studied 636 community gardens in New York City and found they boosted sale prices of homes within a 1,000-foot radius

Ventura County Star
Dec 28, 2016


The Oxnard lot had been vacant for more than 30 years before former mayor Manuel Lopez donated the site. Lopez had bought the lot to build an office for his optometry practice, but that never came about. “I want to give people pride in the neighborhood, pride in the city,” he said at the garden’s January 2012 groundbreaking. But as often happens with volunteer efforts, people move away, get busy with other things or just lose interest, and a project moves slowly or stalls.

Two years ago, however, architect Douglas Stanton created a design for the garden. And over the past six months, more than 40 volunteers have dedicated 500 hours to the project — people like leader Margot Palacios, Girl Scout Sophia Helm (who planted fruit trees), and All Saints Episcopal Church members (who also have helped financially). The site now sports an area where youth can learn about sustainable gardening, a shade structure with seating — and most importantly, more than 20 plots growing kale, onions, beans and other food.

Efforts like this show the true soul of Oxnard — people joining together to improve their community, one lot at a time. It’s a model we all would be wise to follow.

Read the complete article here.