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Local volunteers Lisa Elliot and her son Arthur finish painting one of several community garden beds at the Encinitas 4 Equality Multicultural Collective and Community Center along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas
Local volunteers Lisa Elliot and her son Arthur finish painting one of several community garden beds at the Encinitas 4 Equality Multicultural Collective and Community Center along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. Courtesy photo
Cities Community Community Encinitas News Region

Social justice group opens community garden to help feed homeless

ENCINITAS — A local social justice organization created a communal garden last month to help supply North County nonprofits with weekly fresh fruits and vegetables to feed the homeless.

In a collaborative effort with FillABelly and Humanity Showers, Encinitas 4 Equality (E4E) has built several community garden beds that will provide organic strawberries, passion fruit, kale, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, squash and various herbs to area organizations feeding the homeless.

“We decided that we would create the Community Gardens as a place for people to continue to come together, and work alongside each other in building, painting, and planting the garden beds,” said Mali Woods-Drake, president and co-founder of E4E.

Formed as a grassroots movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year, E4E, which officially became a nonprofit last July, is a local organization dedicated to giving a voice to marginalized groups in Encinitas.

Woods-Drake said the garden is accessible to anyone regardless of skin color, socio-economic or housing status, and serves as a place where everyone can come together, learn and care for each other.

According to Woods, there were over 75 different families that volunteered to build the garden, making it one of E4E’s largest community projects to date.

“Volunteering for causes has become important to our family this year,” said Lisa Elliot, who serves as a volunteer alongside her 5-year-old son. “When we arrived at the garden, we were greeted with lots of smiles, paint and brushes.

“Four hours later, we were putting the finishing touches on a planter full of rich organic soil and rows of garden vegetables ready to grow.”

Freedom on the Inside, a project let by the Brahman Project donated vegetables grown by inmates at Donovan State Prison, according to a release.

Several local groups and stores helped contribute to the community garden project, including Dixieline Lumber in Solana Beach,  which provided a discount on lumber for the raised garden beds. 

Greg Reese, a local farmer at Sea & Soil in Encinitas, headed the garden design, irrigation and planting.

Individuals looking to get involved with the garden may contact Felicia Booker, of Blk Girls Who Garden, on Facebook.

For other volunteer opportunities, please visit the E4E website, www.encinitas4equality.org.

Adam Pascua is an intern covering the city of Encinitas.

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