By Madison Carlin
Walk down the hill, wipe off the sweat, look over and spy a beautiful patch of peace in the subtle hustle and bustle of downtown Arcata. The Community Garden, located on the corner of F and 11 provides food to the patients and staff of the Open Door Clinic but also to any volunteers. The Open Door Clinic, started in 1971 and has been dedicated to providing health care to the community ever since.
The garden is a part of something much larger than the space it occupies. It’s a support network through the North Coast Community Garden Collaborative. The NCCGC has many gardens in Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity counties. Their mission is “to create, facilitate, and nurture partnerships of community garden groups and their supporters to improve people’s access to healthy, locally-grown, and culturally appropriate foods in the North Coast region.”
Debbie Perticara is one of the overseers of these gardens on the Redwood Community Action Agency properties.
“They provide fresh food and opportunities to learn ecologically-sound gardening practices for homeless clients of RCAA including families and youth,” Perticara said.
The community meets every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If one does decide to stop by, they might just run into Alissa Pattison, the manager for the local garden, who has been working there since December. Pattison is passionate about her work.
“I love gardening, I love working with plants and growing food for people,” Pattison said. “I love doing it and it’s helping the community. And I just love playing in the dirt.”
Volunteers would be put to good use.
“The usual turnout is about two to six people and we always need more help,” Pattison said.
Not only does the garden provide food for the community and a chance to pick up useful skills but it is also a peaceful place to hangout.
“People come here to enjoy the space because it is a peaceful environment,” Pattison said. ” We want it to be a welcoming environment that anyone can come hangout in as long as they’re not disturbing someone else’s peace.”
Besides gardening, Arcata residents Beau Barton and Calvin Martin enjoy the garden as a regular smoke spot.
“There is a no smoking zone two blocks in any direction from the plaza,” says Martin. “This is just outside of it.”
For people interested in gardening, Pattison is there to help out.
” I love beautifying the space and showing people how to grow their own food.” Pattison said. “It’s really fun, getting people involved with gardening and empowering them to grow their own food if they want to.”