A HUGE THANKS TO ALL WHO HELPED US MEET OUR GOAL! WE CAN STILL ACCEPT FUNDS THRU 12/19, ALL OF WHICH WILL BE USED FOR THIS PROJECT.
The Pajaro Community Orchard will be a half-acre orchard planted, tended, and shared by the low-income families who participate in Mesa Verde Gardens' programming. It will also be a space of beauty and enjoyment for all Watsonville residents to come enjoy a peaceful green space. The Pajaro Community Orchard, on land leased from the Lutheran Community Church, is Mesa Verde Gardens’ newest project serving the Pajaro Valley community in south Santa Cruz County.
Before it was the center of US strawberry production, the Pajaro Valley was known for decades as one of the most productive apple growing regions in the country! The Pajaro Community Orchard honors and continues that tradition.
During our first year, TOGETHER with your support, we will:
November/December: Fill up
our CommuniTree of Support
PLEASE NOTE: Kickstarter is ALL or nothing; we only receive funds if we reach our goal!
November: till the land and sow a cover crop to increase the health of the soil.
February:convene a COMMUNITY DAY to plant 50 apple and pear trees
Spring: continue COMMUNITY planting of seasonal fruit trees.
Summer: hold COMMUNITY gatherings to create a spiral garden, perennial flower beds, a small labyrinth, and benches.
The Pajaro Community Orchard will be tended—planted, weeded, thinned, pruned, harvested—by Mesa Verde Gardens community garden members, as part of their monthly community work hours commitment. The harvest from the orchard will also go to these 100+ families. But, as a community orchard we also intend for it to be a peaceful place for all who’d like to enjoy a quiet, reflective meander on this beautiful land.
A Brief History of Mesa Verde Gardens
Mesa Verde Gardens is a small nonprofit* serving the Pajaro Valley region in south Santa Cruz County. Begun just 3 years ago, we have been busy fulfilling our mission to empower low-income residents of Santa Cruz County to meet the immediate and basic need for food security by increasing their access to pesticide-free fresh fruits and vegetables through the creation of small organic gardens.
Since our inception in early 2010, Mesa Verde Gardens’ has consistently demonstrated our commitment to the Pajaro Valley community.
In 2010 we designed, installed, and provided ongoing support for two Early Childhood Gardens at preschools serving low-income children.
In 2011 we started Watsonville's first Community Garden, with plots for 30 families to grow food for their own tables, added 8 new Early Childhood Garden, and grew organic vegetables specifically for the Loaves and Fishes food pantry in our Sustainable Ag Demonstration Garden.
In 2012 we tripled our Community Gardens Project to 3 sites, serving a total of 80 families, continued growing and donating hundreds of pounds of culturally appropriate crops for Loaves and Fishes, and provided ongoing nutritional education for our our Early Childhood Gardens.
In 2013, we will continue all existing projects plus start a new community garden at the Fairgrounds with plots for 25 new families...and, WITH YOUR HELP, launch the brand new PAJARO COMMUNITY ORCHARD!
*As a start-up nonprofit, Mesa Verde Gardens is extremely fortunate to be under the 501 (c)(3) tax exempt status of Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County which provides the food education and advocacy needed to end hunger and malnutrition in Santa Cruz County.
To find out more about Mesa Verde Gardens or to support any of our projects, please go to mesaverdegardens.org, find us on facebook, or check out these articles from local press.
- 4/24/12 Nonprofit's community gardens could be model for Watsonville: City Council considers gardens, plastic bag ban, urban forest plan
- 4/19/12 Community Gardens Target Obesity and Diabetes Epidemic
- 4/12/12 Mesa Verde Gardens Keep Growing, Second Harvest Food Bank Blog
- 4/11/12 Watsonville Patch: Watsonville Families Grow Their Own Food
- 8/4/11 Blessing Community Gardens: Peter Saporito, Watsonville Patch
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Growing perennial fruit will be a new direction for Mesa Verde Gardens. Although our members have worked together on projects in their community gardens, the orchard project will rely on collaboration across the Mesa Verde Garden sites. We know we will need to find creative, cross-cultural solutions to accomplish the care and tending of this project. It will be essential for us to strengthen our leadership development, finding community garden members with orchard keeping experience--along with others from Pajaro Valley's rich orchard tradition--to teach the skills we'll need for a thriving, productive orchard.
Additionally, beginning an orchard is an investment in the future. This project represents a longterm commitment to the community. Mesa Verde Gardens is launching the orchard with the intention of stewardship for many years to come but we will also need to develop ongoing partnerships to insure the health and sustainability throughout the long life of the orchard.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
$10 will go toward buy beautifying the orchard...flower seeds, perennials, benches, and more. In gratitude we'll send you a custom postcard from our first community tree planting party.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
$25 will buy one apple, pear, or citrus tree for Pajaro Community Orchard. In gratitude, you will be named as a LEAF supporter on our CommuniTree of Support.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
$100 will purchase some of the soil amendments and cover crop seed we need to improve the health of the soil OR the gopher wire to protect our trees. In gratitude, you will be named as a FRUIT supporter on our CommuniTree of Support.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
$250 will buy two wheelbarrows OR 6 long-handled tools (shovels, spades, forks, hoes, rakes) OR 6 tree pruning tools. In gratitude, you will be named as a BRANCH supporter on our CommuniTree of Support. Also, a box of local organic apples will be delivered to you OR, in your name, to one of the preschools with a Mesa Verde Gardens edible garden.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $750 or moreYou selected
$750 will cover the necessary tractor work (equipment and driver) OR pay our land lease for one year OR buy a water meter and pay 1st year's water bill . In gratitude, you will be named as a TRUNK supporter on our CommuniTree of Support. Also, two boxes of local organic apples will be delivered to you OR, in your name, to one of the preschools with a Mesa Verde Gardens edible garden.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $1,500 or moreYou selected
$1500 will pay for the tractor work (machinery and operator) needed to turn raw land into a manageable orchard OR the irrigation pipes, hoses, and fittings we need to keep Pajaro Community Orchard watered and healthy. In gratitude, you will be named as a ROOT supporter on our CommuniTree of Support. Also, a monthly box of local organic apples will be delivered (during the growing season) to you OR, in your name, to one of the preschools with a Mesa Verde Gardens edible garden.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)