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.
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.