The Organic Garden Co-op needs you!
By Collier Kear, Beverly Spiro, Pat Scott, Betsaida Rosario and Gabriela Villarino, photos by Laurenn Rowland and Linda Reybine
The Organic Gardening Co-op has now celebrated its first year growing and harvesting. As proud members of the OGC, we would like to share our experience with Atención’s readers.
Ruth and Collier, the OGC landowners, started thinking about the idea of a gardening co-op in November 2011, and discussed it with Mike Lambert, also a founding member. “Along with Luc Monzies, our gardening mentor, we began planning and working on the budget, and by May 2012 we were ready to kick off a program that would allow a group of people to achieve a common goal: to learn how to grow their own organic food. The garden can provide food for several families, while also functioning as a working classroom to teach others how to do it for themselves. To date, it has exceeded most of our expectations!” Collier proudly comments.
Bev Spiro and Mike Lambert look forward to working ‘on the farm’ every Monday: “It has opened us to new gardening processes and information, gives us the opportunity to spend several hours with like-minded friends, and most important, it is something we enjoy doing together. I love Luc’s lectures on everything from micro-environments and crop management, to the microbiology of soil and compost, to name only a few”, Bev says.
Pat Scott, who has worked as a social worker for the past twenty years, was interested in working with a group using a “cooperative” model. She adds, “I was clear about the labor that is needed to grow a garden, so I brought Cesario, my gardener, to learn along side of me. We now share those skills in my home urban garden. Having that camaraderie is priceless. My health has noticeably improved because I am eating more veggies and I’m getting more exercise”.
Because the group is bilingual, all members now have a Spanish/English gardening vocabulary. Betsaida Rosario, one of our newest members, comments: “Soon after my arrival, I was invited to the OGC. I always wanted to grow my own veggies but the opportunity to learn had not presented itself. With Luc’s guidance and the group’s support, I’m learning about farming. I attribute this to OGC’s method of teaching: classroom lessons followed by hands-on experience”, she says.
Gabriela Villarino also joined the OGC recently. “I knew there were several organic gardening farms in the area, but I never thought I was going to find such a strong organic gardening community. I’m now growing my own food, learning about plants while being part of a group which also aims at giving back to the community”, she says.
The OGC has sponsored people from different charitable associations, such as CASA (Centro para los Adolescentes de San Miguel de Allende) and CEDESA (Centro de Desarrollo Agropecuario). Sponsored members have benefited from their experience to teach others, such as CASA’s community urban gardens. Some sponsored members are now running their own greenhouses, like Saúl Juárez, a former sponsored member now catering organic food for Los Surcos at TOSMA (Tianguis Orgánico de San Miguel de Allende).
It’s been a great year and we’re looking forward to having more members to join us! Second year members will reap the results of work put in the first year. We now have a good supply of seeds, a classroom/tool room, a greenhouse and a long shade tunnel for growing. If you want to join us, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-152-1213. We’ll be hosting our first monthly event July 13 with a practical lesson for any gardening enthusiasts. Check Qué Pasa for more information, put your gardening gloves on, and join us!