Greenway Vision

Just doing some housekeeping. This vision statement was originally developed by Urban Tilth for the Friends of the Richmond Greenway back in August of 2006. Berryland is now a reality and the Lincoln Edible Forest with 50+ (and still growing) food bearing trees is a lot like the Linear Orchard described below. The Watershed Project has completed a native plant garden. Not in the vision statement, but an exciting new addition to the Greenway Gardens is the Medicine Garden being developed by Iyalode Kinney of CURME (Communities United Restoring Mother Earth) and CYCLE with support from Urban Tilth.

Gardening Along the Richmond Greenway

Our Vision
It is early on a sunny Saturday morning in August of 2010, a perfect time for a stroll along the Richmond Greenway. You enter the Greenway at 23rd Street, where you, you greet three neighbors who have just finished tending their community garden plots. They invite you into sit with them in shade of the grape arbor which serves as the Community Garden Living Room. They need the help of an objective judge to settle their long-standing rivalry over who grows the tastiest tomatoes. You are happy to sample their prize entries, but wise enough to declare the contest too close to call. Explaining that you’ll need more samples in the future before you can issue a final ruling, you move on.

A short distance away, you notice an intent teenager and his five year-old sister in a large, neat, fenced-in garden plot.  The young man hustles to harvest green beans, tree collards, zucchinis, and bundles of cilantro. He pauses only to give instructions to his sister who is filling ten paper bags with the produce. A sign explains that this is a Community Support Agriculture micro-farm managed by the young man with the help of a local non-profit. Neighboring residents can purchase subsidized produce bag subscriptions with Food Stamps, ensuring them a steady supply of affordable, fresh organic produce. Between the subscription charge and the subsidy, the young man earns $10 for each bag of produce he delivers, about $200 a month (minus the pocket money he gives his young sister). The work is hard and the hourly rate comes out to be pretty close to minimum wage, but he knows his contribution to the community is important and the experience running his own business is invaluable. You wave to them as they notice you, and you move on, not wanting to keep them from their work.

At 21st Street,, you pass a series of trees heavy with fruit…apples, pears, lemons, figs, and a dozen more varieties that you don’t recognize. You have arrived at the Linear Orchard.  Signs at each tree and a central interpretive kiosk explain each variety, cultivation techniques, ripening times, and serving suggestions. The kiosk also has flyers announcing dates of various workshops offered here throughout the year: winter and summer pruning, drip irrigation, and fruit tree grafting. You are in the mood for an apple, but the early ripening Gravenstein tree has been picked clean and the Braeburns aren’t quite ripe yet. You make a mental note to return for the Braeburns in two weeks and move on.

A hummingbird passes directly in front of you, pauses in midair and then flits off, leading your eye towards the California Native Plant Garden. You watch it feast frantically, bouncing between the scarlet flowers of a California fuschia. A sign explains the importance of native plant gardening for both water conservation and preserving local biodiversity.

As you pass the Peace Garden, near the intersection with 18th Street, your mood grows somber. A variety of trees, flower beds, murals, and 3-dimensional garden art memorialize individual victims of violence. You pause, whisper a prayer, and walk on in silent reflection.

Joyful shrieks lift your spirits as you reach your final destination…Berryland. Here, dozens of children of all ages, race between thirty varieties of berry bushes. Some of the children can’t contain their delight when they find a hidden pocket of ripe raspberries and call out to their friends. Others keep their discoveries to themselves and munch away quietly savoring the taste of late summer. A young neighbor you know runs up and blurts out the berry report: “Yellow raspberries are perfect right now, but the red currants won’t be prime for another couple weeks yet!” She scampers off to feast some more. After three years, the neighborhood kids have learned to mark the seasons by the delicious treats ripening along the Greenway. You sample a few berries, but decide to leave most of them for the kids. Not only does Berryland help the children get their 5-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables, but it also helps develop the habit at a young age of eating a wide variety of produce early—an important factor in preventing many common chronic health problems.

Inspired, refreshed, and connected, you head home passing through an archway decorated with tiles made from brightly colored artwork created by Lincoln Elementary school students. As you walk, your mind wanders, reflecting on all of the benefits the Greenway has brought to the community. You resolve to make your Saturday Greenway stroll a regular event.
The Details
The open space along the Richmond Greenway is an extremely valuable community resource. The Friends of Richmond Greenway can coordinate a variety of non-profits, community groups, city agencies, schools, and individual residents who wish to develop both food and ornamental gardens in this space. If just a small percentage of the area along the Greenway were set aside for diverse gardening projects, the community could reap significant benefits. These gardens could:
-Provide a source of affordable (or free), organic food.*
-Create an opportunity for physical activity (gardening and walking to gardens).*
-Draw community members onto the Greenway, both as trail users and developers of projects and gardens.
-Help connect community members to the natural world and to each other.
-Provide a forum for education, youth development, and fun.
-Provide jobs for Richmond youth and young adults.
-Increase the self-sufficiency of Richmond residents and help empower Richmond to develop a more local, healthy, and sustainable food system.*
*Note: By making it easier for local residents to make healthy choices in terms of food and leisure-time activities, gardening along the Greenway could help Richmond residents decrease their risk several chronic epidemic diseases. In many respects, gardening along the Richmond Greenway should be seen as a public health initiative directly confronting some of Richmond’s most serious health problems.

Related Statistics and Quotes
Disturbing Statistics to Inspire Continued Action
•In 1999, there were an estimated 1,798 children below the age of 18 living below the poverty line in the two census tracts immediately adjacent to the Phase I of the Richmond Greenway (Census Tracts 3770 and 3790). This represents 38.9% of all children below the age of 18 who live in these census tracts.
•“35.2 % of Richmond schoolchildren (5th, 7th, and 9th graders) tested were overweight (sample size=2,236).” This was 10% higher than Berkeley and San Francisco and nearly 4% higher than Oakland and nearly 9% higher than the statewide average (26.5%). These children are at-risk of serious debilitating chronic diseases such as adult obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
From a 2004 study called The Growing Epidemic: Child Overweight in California’s Cities and Communities conducted by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy
•“Approximately 50% of overweight adolescents become obese adults.”
From a policy brief titled An Early Warning Sign: Diabetes Deaths in California Legislative Districts by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy at
•“Physical inactivity, obesity, and overweight cost California an estimated $21.7 billion a year.”
From a report titled THE ECONOMIC COSTS OF PHYSICAL INACTIVITY, OBESITY, AND OVERWEIGHT IN CALIFORNIA ADULTS: Health Care, Workers’ Compensation, and Lost Productivity
•“Health authorities now recommend substantial increases in fruit and vegetable
consumption to prevent obesity and related chronic diseases. California
adults consume fewer than the recommended 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.”
From a report titled THE ECONOMIC COSTS OF PHYSICAL INACTIVITY, OBESITY, AND OVERWEIGHT IN CALIFORNIA ADULTS: Health Care, Workers’ Compensation, and Lost Productivity
•“Complex social and environmental factors that influence individual choices
about eating and physical activity play a particularly important role in the growing epidemics of both diabetes and obesity/overweight. These factors include. . .limited opportunities for physical activity in schools and communities; limited access to healthful foods in low-income neighborhoods; and increased television viewing.”
From a policy brief titled An Early Warning Sign: Diabetes Deaths in California Legislative Districts by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy
•“If current trends continue, an astonishing 32.8% of boys and 38.5% of girls born in 2000 will develop diabetes sometime in their lives.”
From a policy brief titled An Early Warning Sign: Diabetes Deaths in California Legislative Districts by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy
• “. . .WHO [World Health Organization] attributes approximately 3 million deaths [world-wide] a year from such diseases to inadequate fruit and vegetable intake — a risk factor almost as deadly as tobacco use or unsafe sex.”
From a UN Food and Agriculture Organization article titled Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption becomes a global priority

Gardening as One Part of the Solution

•“Put Fruits and Vegetables Everywhere! . . .Getting more fruits and
vegetables into low-income communities would not only help address hunger but the overall health of our state’s poorest residents.”
From the Touched By Hunger report from the California Food Policy Advocates
•According to a study of teen eating habits and behaviors (2000 California Teen Eating, Exercise and Nutrition Survey (CalTEENS)) by the CA Department of Health Services students who answered “yes” to the question “Have you ever worked in a garden to grow fruits and vegetables?” consumed on average 0.9 more servings of fruits and vegetables every day than those who answered “no”.
• “In 2000 more than 26% of adults [nationally] reported no leisure time physical activity.”
“The belief that physical activity is limited to exercise or sports, may keep people from being active. Another myth is that physical activity must be vigorous to achieve health benefits. Physical activity is any bodily movement that results in an expenditure of energy. Moderate-intensity activities such as household chores, gardening, and walking can also provide health benefits. Confidence in one’s ability to be active will help people make choices to adopt a physically active lifestyle.
From the Center for Disease Control Report “Overweight and Obesity: Contributing Factors

• “Research shows that people who are exposed to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables during their childhood are more likely to continue eating them as adults.”
From a UN Food and Agriculture article titled Children are part of the Solution
•“Declaration of Quito, 2000: We are urging local governments to promote Urban Agriculture in their cities, develop tax incentives and other policies, and promote the collection of information on Urban Agriculture activities in their territorial planning processes…State and national governments to include Urban Agriculture in their programs to alleviate poverty, food safety, promotion of local development and environmental and health improvement.”
From the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Special Programme for Food Security  Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture briefing guide
• “The horticultural species [vegetables produced intensively with irrigation] have a considerable yield potential and can provide from 10 to 50 kg of fresh produce per sqm per year depending upon the level of technology applied.” From the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Special Programme for Food Security  Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture briefing guide (page 38)

The link below is for a word doc version of this which also has some yield estimates and charts. . .