By: Gisa Seeholzer-Haggin
CGSC Council Secretary 2015
CGSC Council President 2016, 2017
A community garden is about more than just growing vegetables and fruits. It is a place to connect with individuals, families, and groups from various walks of life. When I moved back to Santa Clarita in 2013 with my family I didn't even know the gardens existed. One day my daughter and I went for a walk at Central Park off of Bouquet Canyon Road. As we walked along we came upon a fenced in area with a sign saying, "Community Gardens of Santa Clarita." The gate was locked so we were unable to go inside and look around. When I got home that afternoon I googled, "Community Gardens of Santa Clarita." The website had lots of information on the gardens and how to join, so I filled out an application and emailed it to the address provided.
In April of 2014, while on a trip to Maui, I received a phone call from Cindy Allen, the current Plot Manager. We were next in line to receive a 10'x10' garden plot. I was so excited and in May 2014 we became members to the Community Gardens of Santa Clarita. My intention when joining the gardens was to spend time with my then 4 year old daughter and to start my family eating a more organic diet. In the late summer of 2014 things started to change when I received a phone call from a garden member asking if I would like to run for a Council Member position. I didn't think much of it and said, "Sure, I'll run for secretary."
When the end of 2015 year came around we were with out a nomination for Council President and so with my many ideas to improve the gardens, I then ran for Council President. Again unopposed I won and in 2016 I became the youngest President to lead the gardens. I had a strong group of Council Members with me, many of whom started with the gardens since it opened in 2011. In 2016, we were able to finish building our greenhouse and adding a new committee to run it, we welcomed in a number of Eagle Scouts to complete their final projects, continued the Education program with additional adult classes, celebrate our 5th year anniversary, and start our Off the Grid Solar Energy project. Thanks to the support of our online community and local community we were able to acquire a grant from the City of Santa Clarita as well as a sponsorship from Garden Know How.
In the fall of 2017, we completed our Solar project and I began wrapping up my last year as Council President. Before I was done, I wanted to set myself up for success in 2018 with the Education Committee that I started three years ago. Over the past two years, I realized garden members and community residents were interested in more than just organic gardening. They wanted to go beyond the garden. So I put together a program that would allow everyone to go beyond the garden called, "Farm to Table: Organic Living." This program allows children and adults to to learn about cooking, herbalism, soap making, beekeeping, organic pest control, sustainability, and much more. Best of all the program is free to those who sign up. The Education Committee I created is more than just teaching, it is a way to increase interest in organic gardening and bring together the community to work towards a healthier way of life.
In conclusion, over the past four years that I have spent in the garden, I have met a number of good people and dear friends. They have welcomed myself, my husband, and my daughter. It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to lead the gardens in the past two years and if it was not for the efforts of my fellow council members and committee chairs the gardens would not be where they are today. I look forward to continuing my time there working on the Education Committee, working with Eagle and Girl Scouts, and running for 2018 Council Plot Manager.
Come and Visit the Gardens Today!
I would like to encourage those in the Santa Clarita Valley to go and check out the Community Gardens, it is quite the hidden treasure. Bring your family and walk through the individual garden plots, enjoy the orchards, and our new chickens, then wrap up your visit with a nice picnic under our pergola. There are many ways to Get Involved at the gardens, be sure to check out our About page.
Thank you and Happy Gardening!