Everyone is invited to celebrate the third anniversary of the Ridgecrest Community Garden on Saturday, September 23, at 4:30 p.m. at 231 W Haloid Avenue.
The event begins with a welcome speech from Tyrone Ledford, President and Founder of the Garden and continues with food demonstrations using ingredients from the garden. There will be a salsa demonstration and pesto from scratch. Catered foods include Belizean and Jamaican Cuisine. A large speaker will feature a playlist with kid-friendly music, including pop, R&B, and alternative music.
“2023 was one of our biggest years of development,” says Ledford. “We accomplished so many things: building our greenhouse, getting our herbal garden fully scaled out, planting over 30 fruit trees and over 30 flowering trees and close to 60 shrubs. It’s been a very big year in terms of our development and we want to go all out when we celebrate.”
The garden loved Tropical Storm Hillary. Ledford tells us about the woodchip layer over the soil, “It just soaks in all of the water and it retains the moisture of the water and then it waters our plants for weeks. Some of our soil is still moist from that tropical storm. The rainwater brings in nitrogen to our soil and our plants love nitrogen and it helps with their growth.”
The garden is more than things that grow in the ground. “I want people to know and realize that there’s no dream bigger than them,” says Ledford. “For us to accomplish something as big as building a sustainable community garden where we’re growing an array of different things that people would normally say can’t grow out here. Throughout the process, we have had people project what they can’t do on us. They’re unable to grow it and don’t believe these things can happen. We did not allow that to deter us from our vision and dream.
“This really could not have happened without the community seeing the vision and their being a part of the dream and being a part of changing the narrative. The Ridgecrest Community Garden exists today from the community, always showing up and supporting and just being there and being positive. When people come here, they have this huge burst of inspiration; they go home, start their own garden, and put more time and energy into their own garden.”
Beyond planting their own garden, some folks have been inspired to pursue their own dreams. “I’ve seen that with many people who are involved with a community garden who go out to start their own organizations.” He tells the story of one community garden member who, a few months ago, told him about a dream about starting a youth program at the skate park. On August 26, he held his first event. “This is something that he didn’t think was possible. And then he went out and did it.”
Ledford extends an invitation, “Everyone’s invited to our third-anniversary event. We will have activities for children. So please bring your families; celebrate with us. This event is a social event for the community to come out. One of the main things we practice is building unity and the practices of collectivism, which is the idea of everyone coming together for a simple cause to help make things happen and us coming together as a community. This is what this event represents. It represents everyone who was a part of the development of the Ridgecrest Community Garden, whether from a distance or just giving words of wisdom or inspiration, whether you volunteered, shared, donated, or participated in any of our campaigns. Everyone had a role in making this happen, and this is to celebrate all of that.”
The News Review has an in-depth story about the Ridgecrest Community Garden in our June 9, 2023 Issue. It is available online at news-ridgecrest.com.