Central Valley, Stockton, Uncategorized

Commentary: Blessing of the Land

Community Farm in Boggs Tract

John Morearty / Guest Columnist

PUENTES is a new nonprofit group with fifteen unpaid volunteers, including this reporter. We started in Stockton in 2008. Our name means Promotores Unidos para la Educacion Nacional de Tecnologias Sostenibles (Promoters United for a National Education on Sustainable Technologies) Our mission is a big one: “to spread the knowledge and effective implementation of sustainable technology, and to stimulate a critical, cooperative and positive attitude in underprivileged communities across the Americas.”

In other words, to help struggling people to think clearly, and work together with their imaginations and hands to build the lives they hope for.

We begin by creating community gardens, or “community farms,” so people in San Joaquin County can grow healthy food for their families, and make some money.

The first garden will be in Boggs Tract, near the Port of Stockton.

On a cold Thursday evening, January 13, twenty-five residents of Boggs Tract came out to the first organizing meeting. PUENTES executive director (ex-Peace Corps in Panama) Jeremy Terhune laid out the vision, committee member Eleazar Caballero translated into Spanish. Garden coordinator Patricia Miller-Battiste told the crowd,

“Our basic principle is that you yourselves know best what you need, to provide healthy food for your families. We’re just here to provide the framework.

“Garden membership will cost $20 a year, for a twenty foot by twenty foot plot. After five years, we will turn this garden completely over to you. We want to create other gardens in Stockton and the county.”

Someone asked, “What’s to keep neighborhood kids from trashing the garden?”

“This will be your garden,” Patricia said, “and we hope your young people will be involved in creating it. They will care for their own.”

Someone else asked, “How will you involve Washington Elementary School, just down the street?”

“Committee member Dr. Dale Sanders, right here, has developed a curriculum for teaching young people how to create sustainable gardens. He will be working with students, parents and teachers at the school.”

A PUENTES board member said, “Right now the garden is a big patch of mud. But it exists in your hearts and imaginations. Let it grow and flourish.!”

A Blessing of the Land ceremony will be held at the garden on Saturday, February 19 at noon. The garden is on Ventura Street, between Sonora and Hazelton Streets. All are welcome.

More info: Patricia Miller-Battiste, 598-3647.

About bilingualweekly

Bilingual Weekly News brings you community news in both English and Spanish, covering information such as Stockton News, San Joaquin News, Latino News, Hispanic News, Mexican-American News, Bilingual News, Government News, Political News, Arts News, Tracy News, Manteca News, Lodi News, Modesto News, Stanislaus News, Education News, Stockton Unified School District, San Joaquin County Office of Education, Health News, Environmental news, and much more!


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