On a sunny Saturday in mid November, thirty volunteers turned 34 cubic yards of wood chips and over 6,000 square feet of cardboard into a tidy, sheet-mulched garden, ready for winter planting on the grounds of the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in the Fruitvale district of Oakland.
Volunteers from the Piedmont Garden Club (PGC), California Bank and Trust, and Rebuilding Together Oakland (RTO) performed like a symphony of gardeners: The cardboard “quality controllers”, operating under time pressure, removed tape and labels; the “installers” laid cardboard on the ground, overlapping seams and cutting to accommodate existing plants. The “kings and queens of the mountain” shoveled wood chips from giant piles into wheelbarrows, and the “movers” maneuvered wheelbarrows throughout the garden bed where “distributors” raked out the wood chips.
The Piedmont Garden Club (PGC) is partnering with Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, a community center serving the ethnically diverse Fruitvale district in Oakland to create a native plant garden at their site. The Fruitvale District has few green spaces and yet the highest percentage of children of any Oakland district. In addition to community members’ help, the City of Oakland is assisting in preparing the site for planting, and representatives of the Ohlone are providing valuable input on the planting plan.
California Bank and Trust provided lunch and Rebuilding Together Oakland provided all the tools. Oakland Public Works and Peralta Hacienda spent many hours spent creating the log border and preparing for the sheet mulching.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the amazing Piedmont Garden Club members for this labor of love. We also thank the volunteers from the California Bank and Trust, the Water Keepers Youth interns, the City of Oakland, PHHP board members, and the wonderful people from the community. And a huge shout out to Rebuilding Together Oakland for all the equipment that we had to have to do this. Just so generous and giving.
It all came together like a miracle but it wasn’t, it was months of planning and hard work.Holly Alonso, executive director, Peralta Hacienda Historical Park
The Peralta Hacienda Historical Park provides a gathering space for various cultural communities in the area, and serves as a bridge between people and nature, people of different cultures, and people of different generations and different abilities. Through their ACE summer camp, teen Water Keepers year-round program and Oakland Naturalists and Welcome to Wildlife programs, Peralta Hacienda serves more than three hundred youth. Other programs focusing on the arts, cultural heritage, community gardens, and building youth leadership skills are accessed by an additional 4,000 community members.