Members of Ashby Community Garden raise funds to preserve garden

photo of people at the Berkeley community garden
Miranda Crumm/Courtesy
Members of the Ashby Community Garden expressed support for preserving the garden space after its east lot was put up for sale in September, noting its significance as a natural habitat for animals and an ecosystem within the city.

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Members of the Ashby Community Garden are working to preserve the garden after its east lot was put up for sale in September.

According to founder Nora Shourd, the garden, located in southwest Berkeley, was created by local activists in 2004 to provide a public space for people to grow vegetables, conduct food swap events and hold classes and workshops.

There are designated plot owners and volunteers who aid in garden work as well.

Garden coordinator Bonnie Borucki previously told The Daily Californian this is not the first time the plot has been put up for sale.

“One of our main concerns is that if the east side is sold, that they will be looking at the west side,” Shourd said. “That means the entire garden is being threatened, but we do have a plan to look forward to stopping that.”

Members of the garden are working to prevent the land from being sold by contacting land trusts and are in conversation with the city of Berkeley, according to Borucki.

Stefan Elgstrand, spokesperson for Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, said in an email Ashby Community Garden members have reached out to the mayor’s office, and they are exploring options to maintain the land as a community garden.

“Open spaces are a vital part of our community, and we will work to protect them, especially in places like southwest Berkeley where they are less common,” Elgstrand said in an email

Members of the community garden set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations in hopes that a larger organization will aid the garden and build up funds for the prospective purchase of the east lot of the garden, Borucki said.

As of press time, the garden has collected $5,246 through donations.

Miranda Crumm, campus freshman and garden site leader for Berkeley Project Day, a community workday sponsored by the city of Berkeley, said she recommends students to volunteer at the garden and learn the history behind the land in order to advocate for its preservation.

In addition to noting the importance of preserving the garden as a hub for natural habitats for animals and an ecosystem in the city, Shourd added the garden’s location is a convenient site to gather in case of natural disasters.

“We don’t need to see a garden disappear,” Shourd said. “We need more gardens than we already have and we can’t afford to lose this one.”

Contact Lauren Cho at [email protected].