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By Cass Crain

September 21, 2012 (Jamul)--The water saving garden at Jamul Primary School was bursting with lush plants, colorful sunflowers, ripe tomatoes and peppers, tall corn, enormous pumpkins, and an excited community participating in celebration of the first harvest season at the new garden. Second and third grade students gave visitors tours of the garden and answered questions about its water saving features. Other activities for families included a garden mosaic group project, and seed planting. Refreshments were served, and a young student addressed the crowd about the importance of composting all the watermelon rinds and paper products, in order to reduce impact on landfills.

The school garden is a project of ARCHES, a local non-profit corporation dedicated to the cultivation of sustainability and community. The event was co-sponsored by the Jamul Arts and Music Council, (JAM) and the very active Jamul PTA.

“We needed an opportunity to publicly celebrate and thank the community for the tremendous support this garden has received,” says Lois Young of ARCHES, one of the after school garden instructors. “It takes a village to build a garden like this,” adds Cass Crain, another garden instructor and co-founder of ARCHES. “A year ago, this colorful garden space was a field of dry weeds in the hot sun. Thanks to the school board who had the vision, and the parents, students, and local organizations and businesses who cooperated, it has been transformed into an inviting, growing ecosystem of striking beauty.”

There have been many contributions of talent, time, energy and money from all over the county. Young and Crain addressed the gathering, and publicly thanked the contributors and volunteers. Artistic garden gates were designed and built by the Shaw family. Heavy equipment needs were met by Chris Manzuk. Both of these families have students attending the Jamul schools.

Generous financial donations have been received from the PTA, the La Jolla Village Garden Club, Metropolitan Water District, Lowe’s, California Association for Agriculture in the Classroom, and the California Fertilizer Foundation.

“Labors of love” have been contributed during volunteer work days by parents and students, JAM, Summit Church members, and high school students from Granite Hills, Steele Canyon and Valhalla. Other support has come from local businesses, Jamul Hardware Store and Bright Valley Farms.

“We are a community with a talent for working together,” Young concluded, “and [we] have created a wonderful outdoor learning space for our children. Let this festivity be the beginning of many in the evolution of this garden!”

For more information, please call Cass Crain at (619) 368-6508 or email at cass.crain.arches@gmail.com.

ARCHES (Alpine Ranch Creative Health and Ecological Solutions) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting sustainability and community through ecology, nutrition and the arts.  (www.archesinc.org)


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