It was the day after that crazy Friday in February, when the torrential rains flooded our freeways, toppled our trees and brought down power lines. The Finn Community Garden members wondered if they’d be lucky enough to get a break from the storms, so that they could get down to business…garden business. They had planned to hold their monthly meeting, collect garden dues, and prepare for a busy day of digging. Thankfully, on that following Sunday morning, the heavens opened, the sun shone down, and our neighbors added 10 donated fruit trees to our local garden.
To say that our community garden has had its “fair share of obstacles” would be an understatement. And I’m not even talking about the breakin and vandalism that occurred a couple of weeks ago. Our community garden project has been struggling for years. But now, with a community crusader like Eve Sinclair at the helm of this garden’s ship, you better believe she won’t steer us into troubled waters.
The garden was created in 2003. It was a great idea with a great location. However, after a couple of years, the garden fell into neglect. Year after year, a noble citizen or two would try to revive it. They soon realized the revival was quite an undertaking. Many brave enough to step up to the challenge were also met with neighborhood opposition. So for a while there, adversity and red tape won, strangling every bit of life out of the garden like a gigantic weed. All of that changed one year ago in February, when Sunland mommy, Eve Sinclair, stepped up to the plate for a chance at bat.
Last winter, Eve noticed the dilapidated garden, while her daughter played at the adjacent park. She simply thought, “Gardening would be a great opportunity for the neighborhood kids.” So, she ventured through the available channels of communication, funding and political support that would allow this to happen. Turns out, she had the game winning swing: community. “Going it alone” would have left the garden waist-high in weeds. But Eve, gathering people and resources from all walks of life, didn’t only get on base. She hit a home run.
Her idea of reviving the garden began last winter. She called the right people, and in spring, a community garden cleanup event (85+ people) took place, which even saw the likes of our very own disliked former Councilman, Felipe Fuentes. In summer, she hosted the garden grand opening, where members picked plots and assigned duties. In autumn, the members got together and started planting. And now, one year after she began with a simple idea, the plots are green and teeming with life.
On Sunday, February 19th, the garden members dug way for 10 new trees donated by Fallen Fruit, a fruit-asart collaboration based in Silver Lake. The garden’s collective of green-thumbs shoveled into the rain tempered soil, planting tree after tree, making way for apples, peaches, plums, apricots and pluots. Hopefully, that’s temporarily pull the kids’ attention away from the swing set and into the garden. We can expect the first harvest in about a year.
And, at long last, Eve is accomplishing what she had set out to do. She is starting a kids’ gardening club, where children will be able to plant vegetables, build birdhouses and bring their own creativity into the garden. The kids’ gardening club begins in April and will be held every other Saturday morning.
“This was always for the community,” Eve explains. “It has and always will be a way to bring us together.” You are invited to like the Finn Community Garden on Facebook. There you will learn about upcoming events, all of which are an open invitation to the Sunland-Tujunga community.
Also, be sure to look out for the huge Earth Day event they have planned in April. It will be held in conjunction with Finn Park, our city hall and the public library.