East L.A.’s First Community Garden is Underway

Neighbors of the Eastmont Community Center are getting their hands dirty to promote health

2015 will come up fruits and veggies for the families that live around the Eastmont Community Center in East L.A.—the area’s first community garden is being installed this month.

The 2,900-square-foot garden, which will be fully planted in January, is the sixth of eight planned under the Los Angeles Conservation Corps’ Little Green Fingers project, which is funded in part by grant maker First 5 LA. Other Little Green Fingers gardens are in West Athens, Koreatown, Pasadena, Sylmar, and Lancaster.

The fresh idea, explains LACC marketing director Kea Duggan, is to fight childhood obesity by making healthy food ingredients available in neighborhoods filled with children under the age of five “where it’s easier to get a bag of Cheetos.”

Although the Eastmont Community Center garden’s design was only recently approved (open planning meetings were held in October), organizers are already thinking beyond next spring’s yield, which will include plums, fava beans, lettuce, chard, carrots, beets, and herbs. “We don’t just build a garden and say ‘see ya later,’” says Duggan. The program will host classes on how to grow food and nutritious cooking for interested neighbors. To date, the center has received 15 applications from families interested in tending to the garden.

The exact locations for the group’s next two gardens have yet to be determined, but Duggan says LACC may not look far from the newest plot. “I’m glad were in East L.A. now,” she said, “It’s one of the areas we are still looking at.”