~ …a community-service and educational gardening program
Questions & Answers
Are there other local programs providing food to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano counties? While there are nationwide efforts to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to local food organizations (ie, The Diggable City in Portland, http://www.diggablecity.org), there does not exist a comparable program in Contra Costa County. The programs listed below donate a majority of their crops to the Food Bank:
The Contra Costa Times Garden – a demonstration garden
Urban Farmers, Lafayette – on individual home sites
Plant a Row, Lafayette (nationwide program) – on individual home sites
The Backyard Bounty and the Lemon Lady programs – harvesting fruit from individual home sites
A variety of church and school projects involving education and charity
Can Gardeners keep a portion of their harvests? No, the goal of our program is 100% contribution in order to provide the Food Bank with as large and consistent a supply of fresh vegetables as we are able to produce on our site. We hope that Gardeners will embrace the challenge to choose the correct crop for their bed and research the best growing practices to grow as much produce as possible. We also hope that by participating in the program, the Gardeners will find the experience fulfilling enough to take home some of the seedlings and grow food at home for themselves, as well.
What food programs benefit from the Garden? The Food Bank supports over 180 different food programs within the Contra Costa and Solano counties. Some programs are funded by state and federal nutrition bills, such as WIC/Food for Children, Meals on Wheels which serves home-bound seniors and terminally ill patients, and school meals, while others programs such as food pantries and kitchens, are independently operated by local churches and charity organizations. As well, the Food Bank offers programs to seniors (“Brown Bag“) and school-aged children (Farm2Kids) that provide families with necessities, while educating about the nutrition and the food network.
What is the difference between The Bounty Garden and a community garden? The Bounty Garden is a community-service gardening program designed specifically to grow vegetables for use by the Food Bank programs. Gardeners at The Bounty Garden work within a strict framework and as a part of a community service effort. If Gardeners wish to grow fresh vegetables for themselves, they are encouraged use the skills they have learned in The Bounty Garden program to grow vegetables at home for their use.
Did the Barn require complete demolition or simply renovation? The Bounty Garden restored the Barn to its original state to be as historically accurate as possible by salvaging original materials as much as possible. The Bounty Garden Barn (the eastern-most barn) is the storage space for The Bounty Garden program. A Project Cost Estimate, produced by R&J Construction, 8/17/11, was obtained for The Bounty Garden Barn. The Bounty Garden program privately raised the funds to renovate the Barn, saving capital funds for the communities of Alamo and Danville to use on other projects at the Hap Magee Ranch Park.
If the Towns did not provide funds for the rebuilding of the Barn and improvements on site, in what ways do they partner with the Garden? In the long term, maintenance of the fences and trees on site is performed by the Hap Magee Park Maintenance crew. Maintenance items also include graffiti remediation, pest removal, hauling of non-compostable debris and periodically supplying grass clippings for composting. A connection to potable Town water for hose bibs and irrigation and Hap Magee Ranch Park electricity is also utilized, though fully sub-metered and reimbursed by the Garden.
What materials are used to construct the raised vegetable beds? Redwood Construction Heart, if available. This wood has some knots and imperfections, but being from the inner portion of the tree it is the most resistant to pests and decay, unlike Construction Common. Construction of the raised planters was been selected by three industrious and hardworking Danville Life Scouts as their Eagle Scout projects.
Does the compost smell for neighbors or weddings? A well-operated composting yard should smell only sweet and earthy. If animal products are introduced, their decay will create bacteria that are odorous. If food products other than what are readily available in the Beds and on the property are added, this will encourage visits by local animals and create excrement smells. Only plant materials from the Beds, Hap Magee Ranch Park grass clippings and tree leaves from the Garden are allowed in the compost Bins.
What happened to the former users of the site? Prior to the construction of the Garden, the area used by the Corporation Yard which relocated to the space south of the western barn. Additionally, storage area used by the Museum of the San Ramon Valley in the western barn was relocated to a more secure space offsite, and renovation of the western barn is currently under consideration by the Park.