In San Diego, residents are collaborating with community-based organizations and partners from the University of California to transform a 20,000-square-foot vacant urban lot into a community garden. The Ocean View Growing Grounds (OVGG) is becoming a place to build health…and community. The site is located in a neighborhood previously considered a “food desert,” which is defined as an area that lacks supermarkets or access to fresh, nutritious food. Read coverage in U-T San Diego.
Keith Pezzoli is the director of the Urban Studies and Planning Program at UC San Diego, and is also an active participant at OVGG. Pezzoli works as part of a team researching urban agriculture and food disparities. The team’s project includes supporting the cultivation of community gardens and what are called “food forests” on vacant lots. “Food forests” mimic wild ecosystems, but feature edible landscapes. OVGG is the first site. Via Judy Pierecy @UCSDnews:
“But this isn’t just about UC San Diego,” Pezzoli emphasizes. “It is about the larger partnership taking place to build a network that will diminish food disparities by helping to make affordable and healthy food easily available. It’s about linking with organizations such as Project New Village, Groundwork, Roots San Diego and Victory Gardens that have been champions of this kind of work for a long time.”
Karemah Alhark is the president of the Ocean View Growing Grounds neighborhood leadership group. He recently said:
“This is a place where we can begin to empower ourselves and the community to be self-sufficient so that we don’t have to eat things that are sub-par, that are not good for us.” She added, “My children have gotten a chance to see that by your own hand and God’s will you can grow food.”
The work at UC San Diego is part of the University of California’s Global Food Initiative, which seeks to harness the institution’s resources to help the effort to sustainably and nutritiously feed a growing world population. Learn more about the initiative here.