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Benicia Community Gardens – Our Community Gardening Partner

The mission of Benicia Community Gardens is to encourage and enable local citizens to establish and care for gardens throughout the city that provide ongoing sources of healthful food, fellowship, beauty and discovery.

Contact Sustainable Solano for more information on Benicia Community Gardens.

Whether you garden at home or not, have only two hours to spend or want to do more. . .Benicia Community Garden is a place to dig in, sprout a grreen thumb & become an urban farmer. At Benicia Community Garden, there are raised beds, an herb garden & ornamental flower beds with native plants, annuals & perennials. The Garden is always changing.

Established in 2003 as a non-profit, Benicia Community Gardens has expanded to become Sustainable Solano.  Folks of all ages, capabilities and levels of experience—individuals, families, special classes, students—are welcome to participate to learn about and practice ecologically beneficial organic farming methods. BCG’s “hands on” approach encourages experimentation and includes friendly mentoring and various seasonal workshops to help people learn about our local ecology and gain new skills suitable for small scale food production in home yards and other undeveloped parcels where water is available. Composting, soil preparation, bio-intensive planting, sheet mulching, eco-friendly pest management, tool maintenance, pruning techniques and irrigation methods for water conservation are some of the basic subjects covered.

BCG activities are recreational, physical and social—they bring pleasure, provide exercise and encourage healthy living, friendly, civic relations and strengthened community ties. BCG hosts a potluck picnic on the first Wednesday of the month, beginning at noon at our principal garden at Military and East 2nd called Swenson Garden. Anyone can join in. It’s always a feast!

BCG gardeners also help out with the schools’ gardening programs. BCG volunteers, working togetherwith Master Gardeners, parents and teachers, are currently assisting at Mary Farmer Elementary’s gardenduring lunch hour and are helping at Robert Semple. BCG seeks volunteers to help develop garden programs at other school sites, too.

BCG has two locations, one at the corner of East 2nd and Military East and the other at 1st and D:

BCG at Military and East 2nd – Swenson Garden
Created in 1999, by Megumi Grumio (“Meg”) and the late Dr. Ed Swenson, with help of an initial grant
awarded by Solano County through the Healthy Benicia Initiative, our first and primary garden is located
on property owned by Heritage Presbyterian Church. The land has been leased on BCG’s behalf by the City
of Benicia, for $1/year. BCG appreciates the generosity and goodwill of Heritage Presbyterian Church and
the City. Swenson Garden is the primary location for teaching purposes and continues to be a “work in
progress,” serving as a showcase for routine practices that constitute sustainable organic farming methods
for year-round food production. As a working garden, it is continually being re-created and changed by the
those who tend it over time. There are 18 raised beds for individual or shared use, an herb garden and
border areas for raspberry vines, sprawling squash plants, perennials and ornamentals. 

BCG at First & D – Avant Garden, a “moveable” garden initiative

In fall of 2010, BCG signed a very favorable lease agreement (for $20/mo) with Estey Real Estate to establish a second community garden downtown, at First and East D streets. We’re calling it Avant Garden because it represents an experiment not only to provide wider opportunity for more people to observe and practice organic urban farming, but also, because BCG will be making private, undeveloped property in the heart of our historic commercial district productively used for growing food. Since the property remains for sale, BCG must remove the garden at once if the land sells. The intent, should this happen, would be to find another suitable location for a garden. Thus, Avant Garden is designed to minimize costs and allow things to be moved, recycled or turned back to the earth on site.  A  “patio” (bordering the fence along First St.), has been installed and features colorful concrete planters made by local Arsenal sculptor, Mary Oros and donated to BCG by Gene Doherty. A shed stores tools. equipment and other supplies.