Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Sacramento Community Gardens: Harvesting Food and Friendships

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Sacramento Community Gardens: Harvesting Food and Friendships

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Ray Poer has cultivated more than cucumbers, zucchini, chard, potatoes, and rhubarb at Sacramento, California's Fremont community garden. Gardening year-round up to eight hours a week, Poer has cultivated friendships--and a green thumb. "Before this, I killed plants. I had no luck whatsoever," he says. "At first, I didn't want to do it because I was afraid I was going to mess it up. But it changes you. It's transformative."

Transformative, too, for many of the other hundreds of people active with community gardens run by Sacramento's parks and recreation department. Eleven gardens will be established by spring around the city.

"People go by the Fremont garden and see what's going on, and they want to take part, too. It's one of the most positive things I've ever been involved with in this town," says Poer, 57, whose employer, a human services agency, has the plot he helps maintain.

At a park near City Hall once frequented by homeless people, neighbors now tend a community garden that has created a more positive atmosphere. …

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