El Cajon complex creating community garden

August 21, 2017 by  

Garden boxes are now ready to start producing healthy produce for over 200 of an El Cajon building’s residents.

Torrey Apartments is the site of a community garden taking shape behind the building. As various vegetables grow, building residents are learning to take a more active role in keeping themselves healthy.

Among the tasty veggies growing are lettuce, radishes, corn, eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes. Citrus and pomegranate trees are also growing, as are herbs such as dill, rosemary, basil, mint, and cilantro. All the plants have been growing since June, thanks to nursing students from the University of San Diego (USD), working in concert with a program from the San Diego Housing Corporation, a nonprofit organization.

The housing group was started in 1994 in order to help people find affordable accommodation. The group frequently partners with different organizations to help provide social services to residents.

Jodi O’Brien, a nursing instructor at USD how started the garden, knew residents of the complex would benefit from having a community garden. Many residents have limited means, some are refugees who have yet to find jobs, and few of them have cars. Without a grocery store nearby, it can be difficult for them to purchase food, so the garden will allow them to grow their own, as well as creating a sense of belonging among them.

The garden can serve as a model for others if organizers work with brochure printers to create booklets that describe the project.