Community garden supporters seek land

ENCINITAS — The city’s community garden organizing committee is actively seeking a 1- to 2-acre parcel of land to begin building a shared gardening experience for residents.
City Council voted April 15 to support the concept of a community garden organized by volunteers. However, there was disagreement over using city-owned land along Quail Gardens Drive as a potential site for the garden.
Councilwoman Teresa Barth, who praised proponents for their work on studying the logistics of a community garden, supports the Quail Gardens Drive site.
“As far as the best and highest use of land, the health and happiness of our community should be considered, not just the dollars that the land could possibly bring,” Barth said.
At least three councilmen disagreed that the site was appropriate for a community garden.
Councilman James Bond said the Quail Gardens Drive site was worth at least $5 million to $7 million in the current market. “There’s nothing wrong with sitting on it,” he said. Deputy Mayor Dan Dalager and Councilman Jerome Stocks also favored an alternate site.
Bond said he preferred the Indian Head Canyon site because it is rural and cannot be sold. It was donated to the city by the Ecke family to be used as parkland.
Task force members said the parcel is unsuitable for a community garden because it is designated as a habitat for wildlife. It is also not easily accessible and has sloping topographical features.
Sanford Shapiro, a representative of the task force and a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission, said interest in participating in the garden project is growing so quickly that a plot of land is crucial to maintain momentum.
More than 1 million community gardens exist nationwide.


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  1. Lynn Braun Marr says:

    Yes, as Councilmember Barth suggests, the highest and best use of the land would be for a community garden, preserving open space and community character, providing a venue for growing neighborhood produce and sustainable plantings.

    It’s ironic that when all Encinitas fees, including building permit fees and fees for seniors at the community center, fees paid to the city by Yoga or surf school instructors, have all recently been raised; only sports leagues are not subject to fees for using public facilities in Encinitas.

    The sports leagues are a special interest group. So are those who advocate for community gardens. We all have some “special interests.” It seems completely unfair to put one group of people, and many of those on the leagues are not Encinitas residents, before the needs of others.

    The Quail Gardens site is land dedicated as a park, and given to the people, through the City of Encinitas when Encinitas Ranch was given the okay for development. Land was dedicated for a school, for a park, and for a Golf Course. We only got the golf course, which is catering to another special interest group, out of the price range of many.

    For the three man majority on Council, Stocks, Dalager and Bond, all pro-development, to now say they want to keep the land to sale for a profit seems disingenuous, and contrary to what was promised to the citizens by our sometimes “unfair city.” The recent three-man Councilmember vote disallowing a community garden at the Quail Gardens site is another violation of the public trust.

    A community garden could be part of the legacy of those serving on Council. Dan Dalager, you are up for re-election next year. Our city can do better!

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