Growing Hearts Garden ribbon cutting at Food Bank

Ribbon cutting for new garden project by Growing Hearts Garden Center and in partnership with Community FoodBank.

Growing Hearts Garden Center headed a new project at Community FoodBank, producing an edible garden and tangible community involvement.

The ribbon cutting for the project happened on Saturday, July 13, and was attended by scores of supporters from the community, including local government representatives and board members of FoodBank and of Growing Hearts Garden Center.

The Garden Project is an edible landscape in the form of small space gardens that will provide inspiration and education to our community. Not only will the garden produce small amounts of food, it will also act as an outdoor “lab” for school field trips or even as an example for other businesses & properties who want to approach their landscaping with a different mindset.

“Partnering with Growing Hearts has been the fulfillment of a long-time dream, and this garden project really belongs to the whole community. Thanks to all of you. This is the best way I can think of to cap a career at the food bank. The garden just completely blows up my greatest expectations.” – Mark Paxton, Community FoodBank

“What better way to leave a place than having left a mark of generosity & giving to the community. Keep the light on for us!” – Valerie Egland (Facebook comment)

“Mark and Mary are local legends in my mind. Their legacies will live on for generations.” – Kollin Kosmicki (Facebook comment)

Growing Hearts Garden Center’s Chris Evans spearheaded the project’s planning and execution, working with local businesses on the procurement and installation of piping, tubing, valves, metal planter boxes, plants and trees and irrigation supplies. Crews cleared out, leveled and prepped space in the dirt strip between the food bank’s building and the parking lot along the north side of the building.

Growing Hearts Garden team members

The garden includes a Fuji apple tree and a special pear tree where four types of pears have been grafted into one tree. The walkway to the marketplace entrance is lined with 10 citrus trees that include blood orange, orange, lemon, lime and clementine. Novel to many of the garden’s visitors is the ground cover that is made up of crushed walnut shells.

Growing Hearts Garden walnut shell ground cover

Sustainability and conservation elements of the garden are highlighted by shiny metal planter tubs along the side of the garden. The tubs’ irrigation system is designed so that they are watered from the bottom up, which uses less water and has less evaporation. One of the tubs is planted with a salsa garden! Tomato, onion, cilantro and Mexican oregano.

As the garden matures and the seasons come and go, we are thrilled about the continuing partnership we have with Growing Hearts Garden Center — they will continue to maintain the garden, harvest from it and use it as a place for their employees to work, learn and “grow.”

About Growing Hearts Garden Center
Growing Hearts Garden Center is devoted to community based projects that will provide employment for adults with special needs while also giving back. Learn more at

Community Food Bank’s mission is to provide food, nutritional education and advocacy for our neighbors in need within San Benito County.


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