Community garden in Belle Haven's future?


By Emma Marsano | Special to the Almanac

The Rotary Club of Menlo Park, which backs a number of community causes, now has plans to help the Belle Haven neighborhood build a community garden.

If the city of Menlo Park approves the club's proposal to construct the garden on city property and if the Belle Haven community supports the project, plans for the garden can move forward, said Rotary Club president and former Menlo Park city manager Glen Rojas.

Belle Haven families would lease garden beds at little or no cost and save money spent at the grocery store by growing food for themselves.

The garden would comprise 10 to 12 large, raised beds, spread over approximately one-third of an acre.

Classes would "provide the techniques to ensure the most efficient and effective ways to grow food," Mr. Rojas said.

The No. 1 goal now is to meet with the community to determine the interest from residents, he said. "Once we have completed outreach to residents, we will release the site location."

He said the approximate location is in the vicinity of Ivy Drive and close to the Boys & Girls clubhouse at 401 Pierce Road in Menlo Park.

The Rotary Club wants residents and community groups involved in the process from the beginning, which includes planning, construction, and operation, Mr. Rojas said.

The club also needs to do fundraising. Sponsors are being sought and Menlo Park's Community Services Department has expressed interest in partnering with the club, Mr. Rojas said.

With any luck, the garden could be underway in the first few months of 2014.

For more information, email Joanna Jones at


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Posted by East of 101
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 17, 2014 at 8:45 am

Garden! LOL. The resident's of the Belle Haven Community don't need gardens..Based on the article I can see the intention to go green but guess what- who has time to garden when parents barely have time for their families. People there have their own yards to grow their gardens in. Having an ugly pieces of leasable land for a community garden is ridiculous and it devalues properties. Where are these people coming up with what is needed for our community.Outside consultants can't offer what the people live there truely need. If you want a sense of community in that neighborhood ask the MPPD to stop terrorizing the community. Have outreach groups inform the residents of their rights! Tell Facebook to hire within the community, and provide educational resources like programming for the the youth.No one wants to go outside of their house becuase they run the risk of being harrassed by code enforment officers.

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Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 17, 2014 at 6:20 pm

East of 101 has one point right ... people in Belle Haven generally have their own yards, and can garden there if they want. A community garden is mostly useful as a place for gardeners to socialize while working. As long as people providing gardening classes aren't being "preachy", there's nothing wrong with that. And it's downright bizarre and offensive to talk about the MPPD terrorizing citizens in Belle Haven when there's periodic flair-ups of gang members shooting each other; my experience with the police department has only been positive.

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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm

The Belle Haven community is super supportive of this project, and actually has been trying to get one built. Currently, the lot is used as a dumping ground, so the garden will clean up and beautify the space. The garden is meant to be educational for the nearby Boys and Girls Club, as well as the Senior Center. Community members will have ample space to grow their own produce, to socialize, and take advantage of free gardening classes. Sounds like a win-win.

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Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I'd support it. Even with yards, there are those in Belle Haven who live in apartments - or, even more commonly, rent a house and may not be allowed to grow a garden. Although we have a veggie garden, it might be interesting to check out the classes, and get to know a few more neighbors. I can't see why someone would get upset about a community garden. Palo Alto has several, and it hasn't destroyed home values there ...

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Posted by Martin Lamarque
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 18, 2014 at 9:52 pm

I think is a great idea.

I have enough land to use for my own vegetable garden.
But a community garden would not only help us grow produce. More importantly, it would help us grow community; which we badly need.
Count me in.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2014 at 12:10 pm

One only has to look at the wonderful work that Collective Roots has done in E. Palo Alto to understand the benefits of community gardens - whether one has a yard or not. Classes, shared learning, trading fruits and veggies, food justice, local agricultural history and sustainability, nutritional education, pride of place and joy are just some of the benefits. Collective Roots started in Belle Haven. Perhaps they'd be willing to help get this initiative off (or rather, into) the ground?

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Posted by Kris Jensen
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2014 at 9:58 am

A 2006 New York University School of Law study titled “The Effect of Community Gardens on Neighboring Property Values” shows a net positive impact on property values by community gardens. That impact is even stronger in lower income communities. Community gardens can be great assets to any community and I applaud the Rotary Club of Menlo Park for trying to build one in Belle Haven.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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