By Michael Wedgley
Michael Wedgley of Soilogical BioSolutions and Designs previously managed our Solano Gardens program, including overseeing the installation of the community garden at City Church of Fairfield. Here, he reflects on that garden installation and the community surrounding it.
Participants prepare the ground at City Church of Fairfield for the community garden
Putting together community gardens has varying degrees of success, but our recent turnout at City Church of Fairfield blew me away. We had so many volunteers from many different walks of life all come together to support the efforts of growing food for people in the community that might not have access to fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
Leading these installs with so many people can have its challenges, but it’s because so many things get accomplished so fast, and you have to be moving through the tasks at a very quick pace. It also translates to a very productive day, and it’s so heartwarming to see the connection that everybody is making with the land and the work they’re putting into it.
On Feb. 25, Sustainable Solano along with a group of about 40 volunteers came together to create the community garden at City Church. The garden will be used to provide fresh produce for the residents at City Church who are recovering from addiction, and given away to the local community through the church’s daily food drives.
The volunteers were given safety instructions and split into groups to tackle specific tasks. Some volunteers cleared the area, while others marked out the garden’s boundaries. They worked hard to ensure that the areas where garden beds would be were cleared of woodchips, and dug in-ground swales, which they filled with woodchips. These swales will act as a water catchment basin and store rainwater, allowing it to seep into the soil and provide food for microbes such as fungi. The fungi, in turn, will provide water and nutrients to the plant roots, making the garden more sustainable and resilient to environmental changes.
On March 4, volunteers returned to the site to create growing mounds by adding soil to the prepared beds, and started to lay irrigation. Halfway through the install, we were hit with a huge amount of rain and had to end the day. Although the volunteers were not able to complete the installation we were able to get a lot of work done, and a workday on March 18 finished up the irrigation and put in trees and plants.
Overall, the community garden installations have been a fantastic effort that is promoting community involvement and is encouraging individuals to connect with each other and with nature in profound ways. It was amazing to see everyone come together to make a positive impact and make serenity and nutrition accessible for everyone in their community.
Upcoming Ways to Engage with the Solano Gardens Community
April 1: Emmanuel Temple Spring Planting Day (Vallejo)
April 5: Armijo High Garden Work & Maintenance Day (Fairfield)
Solano Gardens is funded by Solano Public Health