Creating Commonwealth Garden
To be a model of sustainable gardening that will provide organic produce, as well as be a place of restoration, while promoting educational outreach and community health awareness within a hospital setting.
Commonwealth Garden was developed by a local, volunteer garden committee with personal gardening and farming experience. Committee members had studied and practiced permaculture, bio-intensive gardening, bio-dynamic gardening, organic gardening, and had taught classes in one or more of these areas. The development of the garden business plan also involved interviews with certified organic gardeners and farmers who had, or were running, successful organic gardens or farms, CSAs, Farmer's Markets, as well as school gardens. The committee choose the Foundation's hospital garden project as a collaborative of dedication to community, agriculture and education, with the underlying commitment to foster the connection between "our health and the food we eat."
Commonwealth Garden's Core Values
1. To grow food for body, mind and spirit
2. To be committed to wellness on all levels
3. To create a place of renewal, serenity, empowerment and connection
4. To be committed to creating and maintaining balance, bio-diversity
and fertility through integrating sustainable and organic practices
5. To create a garden based on community involvement and provide
education to the local and surrounding communities
6. To create an innovative and successful model of how community can
hold a collective vision, work/create together and care for each other
Commonwealth Garden Goals
1. To provide a venue in which the relationship between the growth and
consumption of food and overall wellness can be properly viewed
2. To provide locally grown produce to AH/HMH Nutritional Services
Department for consumption by patients, staff and visitors
3. To consistently supply those established feeding programs in the
community of Willits (Senior Center and Willits Food Bank), with produce
for use in their kitchens
4. To create programs that permit economically disadvantaged individuals
to receive education and training through volunteer hours in return for a
weekly stipend of produce
5. To provide a healing/relaxing place for hospital patients, staff, visitors
and community members, incorporating horticultural therapy as an
aspect of what the garden offers
Thanking Our Community
The seed head of this flowering onion exemplifies the true meaning of community, or as a famous proverb explains . . . "It takes a village to raise a child". I understand this proverb to mean, it takes an entire community to raise a child and that a child has the best ability to become a healthy adult if the entire community takes an active role in contributing to the rearing of the child.
To me, this proverb explains the story of Commonwealth Garden. Through tremendous community support the garden was born and built, from the initial formation of the volunteer garden committee, to the initial and generous monetary donation contributed by William and Judith Bailey, to the ongoing in-kind and monetary donations from local individuals and businesses, from the support of the Frank R. Howard Foundation and the Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital, from three separate grant awards from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, and to the hundreds (quite possibly, thousands) of volunteer hours contributed; together, it took all of the gifts of this village to build Commonwealth Garden, a healthy,
5-acre organic garden.
This first-in-the nation, innovative garden is the story of what one small, rural town did when it joined forces and said, "I believe in the possible", the long-time slogan adopted by the Foundation when they began their capital campaign to build the new Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital and Medical Campus; it has believed in the possible. Thank you.