For information about the garden or about volunteering please contact:
Pamela - info(at)almosteden.org
- 650-504-1811 (text or call - email is preferred, however)
Statement of Need/Project Description
Bay Area food pantries struggle to provide nutritious food for the local homeless and low-income population. In particular, organic fresh fruits and vegetables are rarely donated in good condition, and higher quality produce is too expensive to purchase. The Almost Eden Garden Project grows premium-quality organic produce for several local organizations that provide meals and services for homeless and low-income families.
The Almost Eden Garden Project strives to grow quality produce organically and sustainably. Growing sustainably involves planning for appropriate irrigation, growing compost cover-crops during the winter, never using toxic pest or weed controls, and spacing plants for optimal plant health. Almost Eden focuses on growing crops that are high in nutritional value (collards, kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens) and crops that do not require cooking facilities to prepare (tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, herbs and peppers). Fava beans are grown on approximately two thirds of the winter beds each year and dug under each spring, and crops are rotated as much as possible each year to detract garden pests. Flowers and herbs are planted throughout the garden for beauty and to attract beneficial insects and birds to the garden.
The garden was started in 1998 by Bob Segbarth and a staff member at Urban Ministries in Palo Alto. Originally, homeless and low-income individuals were paid to help at the Almost Eden garden through a grant secured by Urban Ministries. When funding for the Urban Ministries staff member and for the hiring of workers ran out, however, Bob worked as a volunteer to keep the garden going. Pamela Chesavage joined Bob in the garden during the summer of 2003 and went on to manage the garden from 2004-2013. In 2013, Pamela was joined by Helen Chee, who now serves as a Garden Co-Manager for the Almost Eden Garden Project.
Pamela Chesavage and Helen Chee currently volunteer as co-managers of the Almost Eden Garden Project, making sure the necessary tasks are accomplished and volunteers are directed appropriately. Almost Eden, however, would not exist without its regular, committed volunteers – people of all ages who work in the garden each week, assisting with planting, watering, weeding, digging, pruning and various other garden "chores". Almost Eden also greatly depends on the help of weekend volunteer groups who assist with larger-scale clean-up and beautification projects. Many of our volunteers come from local churches, corporations, and other groups looking for a great service opportunity. Hands On Bay Area sends volunteers our way every first Saturday of the month, and we welcome other smaller groups and individuals to join us that day as well. Corporate groups are scheduled on weekdays as arranged with Pamela. Due to space limitations, we cannot host groups larger than 15 individuals.
Some Of Our Beneficiaries
The South Palo Alto Food Closet - A local food closet serving low-income families and disabled individuals - they are always so thrilled to get fresh produce!
St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room - A wonderful place that serves an average of 500 meals a day to low-income and homeless families and individuals. When we have 200+ pounds of produce to give away on a Saturday morning after a workday, St. Anthony’s has no problem distributing it to those in need!
Peninsula Bible Church Recovery Ministry - .PBC hosts a large meal every Friday night for unhoused individuals, veterans and those in recovery - we love to contribute healthy, organic veges and herbs to their meal when we can :).