Lemon Grove community garden site
The site of the Lemon Grove Community Garden. Courtesy of the city

The city of Lemon Grove held a grand opening ceremony Saturday for a community garden, which is intended to boost the city’s health and vibrancy.

The garden will include 43 raised planters for residents to lease and tend to. The effort to establish the all-volunteer project began more than three years ago and resulted in a two-year lease by the city to the nonprofit Lemon Grove Community Garden group. The city also has the option to extend the free lease once the two-year term expires.

“Our mission is to help people grow healthy food and bring together people in the community,” said Walt Oliwa, the chairman of the Lemon Grove Community Garden. “All are welcome to grow healthy vegetables and grow the community.”

Residents can lease a planter box for $100 a year on a first-come, first-serve basis. Eventually, the garden will also include gardens for butterflies and hummingbirds. City officials believe the garden will serve as a way to redirect residents away from harmful activities like drug use and sedentary lifestyles, in turn fostering a healthier and safer community.

“The Lemon Grove Community Garden will provide meaningful hands-on agricultural activities for residents that will help add beauty and vibrancy to this once underused space,” said Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez. “It will serve as a catalyst for more community-driven, land-use initiatives throughout the city and I am looking forward to seeing our community garden grow.”

The garden is located at the corner of Central Avenue and Olive Street.

— City News Service