Buena Park is seeking to expand its community garden project by adding another site in the near future as demand for garden plots increases throughout the city from residents without room to grow crops on their own properties.
Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Collegiate News Service, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Collegiate News Service Editor Vik Jolly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The council agreed unanimously last month to continue to work on the expansion with the panel asking that future new sites be near apartments within the city.
The community garden project has existed in Buena Park since 1969, according to a city staff report. The current community garden sits on a 4.4-acre property at Thelma Avenue, west of Knott Avenue. According to the city’s website, residents pay an annual fee — ranging from $50 to $120 per year — depending on the size of the plot at the community garden.
The current garden will continue to operate even after a potential new property is added to the program in the future. It has 168 plots, including 120 large plots, 16 medium plots and 32 small plots. According to the city staff report, these garden plots are “very popular and at capacity annually.”
“Given the rising costs of food and anticipated shortages, we need to prepare for more locally grown food options so that we can ensure food security for our residents,” said Council member Susan Sonne during the City Council meeting last month. “I believe giving residents more options to grow their own food locally will help ensure nutritious food is provided in homes in Buena Park.”
The proposed site to expand the project is at the Ehlers Event Center, 8150 Knott Ave. The site is on a 0.1 acre unused plot of land behind two community service warehouses. The property can fit 15 small garden plots in its boundaries. According to the city staff report, the expansion would cost $10,000 to purchase garden beds, irrigation systems and soil.
The City Council has asked the Parks and Recreation Commission to evaluate more sites for the expansion of the community garden program and directed staff to put the Ehlers Center site item on a future council agenda for a vote.