In March 2012 the garden opened as a mission outreach for Trinity Lutheran Church, providing space for our neighbors to serve alongside our congregation as we grow food and build community. We currently offer 28 individual (200 sq. ft) garden plots where families grow their own food. For production and donation we also maintain annual row crops, a “food forest” orchard, a greenhouse, and a chicken coop; most of what we produce from these communally worked areas is donated to local partners.
We grew, harvested, and donated >10,000 lbs. of organic produce during our first five years! Our community events and educational programs engage thousands of visitors every year. The garden is open most Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays 9 am—12 pm. Classes, workshops, garden tours, and all-ages community service opportunities are key components of the garden’s outreach programs.
Who do we donate food to? Weekly harvests are distributed to SB Rescue Mission’s Bethel House women’s shelter, the SB Organic Soup Kitchen, and SB Hospice Society’s Sarah House. Some produce is harvested for cooking classes, educational field trips, and for volunteers and visitors to sample.
How do we engage the community? In addition to maintaining a beautiful and productive growing space, Trinity Gardens hosts a community egg hunt, with natural egg dying and a plant sale every spring, the July outdoor worship service and BBQ potluck picnic for TLC, an annual “Evening in the Garden“ dinner fundraising, educational field trips for school groups, and an annual fall harvest festival. Last year’s Fall Educational Field Trips engaged over 1,400 visitors in a single month!
Under Linda Vogel’s continued leadership a monthly “garden to table” culinary series brings together up to fifteen participants for a unique cooking and dining experience, utilizing the Fellowship Hall’s kitchen. The garden continues to support Trinity’s “Garden Song Day Camp, VBS” with outdoor learning spaces for all ages and plenty of hands-on activities for the kids.
How do we support our operations? With lots of help! Dedicated volunteers spend over 100 hours/week (on average) maintaining the garden and engaging the community. Donations of time, materials, and funds (in part secured through grants) provide essential support. Operational funds are generated from plot holder annual fees, cooking classes, plant sales, and special events.
We are very grateful for generous financial support from the congregation. We are also thankful for financial support from: Trinity Lutheran Church (Endowment, Council, and Outreach), ELCA World Hunger Grants, ELCA Domestic Hunger Grants, the Johnson-Ohana Foundation, the Southwest California Synod (Warner Trust Fund), Union Bank, Thrivent, Kellogg Organics, Island Seed & Feed, and Decker’s.
Leadership - The garden committee meets monthly on the Second Wednesday at 5:30 in the Fireside Room, with meetings open to the public. Our leadership team is a mix of congregation and community members:
Nicole Biergiel (Chair and Plot Holder Liaison ) Katie Szopa (Events & Development) Matthew Vogel (Community Service Coordinator) Judy Sims (Committee Adviser) Marsha Krebs (Treasurer) Linda Vogel (Education Coordinator) Adam Graham (Project Manager) Sharon McKenzie (Historian) Paul (Council Liaison) Keith Bartlett (Garden Manager)