Sustainable Contra Costa’s fourth annual Leadership in Sustainability Awards Gala was held on Wednesday, October 24 and Janet Thomas won the “Individual” award.
The evening’s biggest splash was the 2012 Leadership Awards. A 13-judge panel of local community members who understand or work in a field supporting sustainable practices selected winners in seven categories, and honored one individual for Lifetime Achievement. The awards were presented by Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich and Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez.
- Janet Thomas, winner of the “Individual” Award, is a founding member of Sustainable Lafayette, and her vision of a community garden inspired $90,000 in support, volunteers in the hundred’s, and 50 households who now tend the food-sharing, education-spreading, Lafayette Community Garden and Outdoor Learning Center.
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It’s been a long time coming, and it required the tenacity of the Sustainable Lafayette Food Group, including Janet Thomas, to finally create a community garden in Lafayette.
The community can visit the community garden site on Earth Day, April 22, along Mt. Diablo Blvd. across from the Reservoir. But if you want to become a member of the garden, you must work there two hours a week, take your crop home – and sign up early. The first plants are not in the soil yet but 50 families have already signed up and only four spots are left for this year. The garden will also serve as an outdoor education center, free and open to the public.
“I’ve noticed that good ideas that help people have a way of taking on a life of their own,” said Drew Holland, whose 2010 Eagle Scout gleaning project harvested enough fruit to feed 280 people for one day.
Siamack Sioshansi is founder of The Urban Farmers, the nonprofit group that supported Holland’s ambitions. In 2011, the organization expanded the Holland tradition, gathering over 5,000 pounds of fruit for the needy, and perishable produce for animals at Walnut Creek’s Lindsay Wildlife Museum.
This year, Sioshansi’s irresistibly enthusiastic bucket brigade has grown again. More than 50 people attended the recent kickoff, leaving $1,000 in donations for much-needed equipment they will use to harvest the fruit in three months’ time.
Lot’s of energy around planning, building community and then growing food. Got a glimpse of preliminary drawings and schedule for fund raising, permitting, construction and then planting and harvesting.
Since 2008, a core group of nineteen community members, including educators and master gardeners, has been looking for a community garden and outdoor education center.
In February of 2011, EBMUD and the City of Lafayette agreed to allow the community to use the multi-acre site in front of the Filter Plant on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. In addition to learning sustainable gardening practices at the site, we will have the opportunity to learn about the local habitat displayed by the beautiful oak, bay laurel and other plants along the adjacent creek.
Community support has grown as the concept has been shared with local seniors, garden clubs, scouts, families and individuals looking for opportunity to create a model of respectful land use and civic cooperation.
In April 2011, Sustainable Lafayette became the fiscal sponsor of the project.