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Planting the Seed of Community: The Belle Haven Garden

Started back in February 2015, the Belle Haven Community Garden is up and running, with the help of several Menlo Atherton students. Sophia Bailey and Samantha Siegel, two Juniors, have started a club centered around getting students involved in a community garden very close to the school.  

At least once a month, members of the club will go to the garden and work on weeding, planting, and talking to other community members. The club is an environmental initiative and also focuses on tackling other issues the community faces.

According to the National Center for Environmental Health, “Community gardens are collaborative projects on shared open spaces where participants share in the maintenance and products of the garden,   including healthful and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables”.

Community gardens can beautify vacant lots, decrease violence in some neighborhoods, and improve social well-being by strengthening social connections. All of these benefits are not limited to M-A students, so students can get to know community members from other areas.

Aside from the health and societal benefits, community gardens have been linked to economic growth. Numerous studies have found that in neighborhoods, community gardens can raise property values and greatly improve communities, especially poor ones. Using data from New York City, one study concludes that the higher quality gardens create the greatest positive effects- and that is where the new club is stepping in.

With all of this information in mind, this new club has some serious goals. The students who are spearheading this idea are not only passionate about the garden and its plants, but all of the possible benefits it could offer the community.  

“Every time we go it gives us a sense of gratefulness for what we have and we’re thankful to be able help contribute to the garden.” said co-founder Bailey.

They plan on expanding their efforts and their impact.

Volunteers from the first work day. Top from left: Fiona Ralston, Isabella Montoya, Sophia Bailey, Annie Chazen, Samantha Siegel, Natalie Knox.
Bottom: Emily Zurcher

“Sam and I hope to spread the feeling that comes with working there to others because the community around the garden is super supportive and friendly every time we come. We also hope to expand to more than just the Belle Haven garden so more people can get involved and make an impact.” added Bailey.

To get connected or learn about the club, check out their instagram.

 

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