Legacy Garden Director Anne Drevno welcomes four CA ClimateCorps fellows and discusses the garden’s future.
(Image c/o writer)
American Journalism Student
A half-acre “living laboratory” of organic fruits, flowers, herbs, insects, and vegetables, the Legacy Garden adds four full-time CA ClimateCorps fellows to the mix. Onboarded two weeks ago, ClimateCorps fellows Vera Hammond, Andrea Solis, Molly Clemons, and Erin Dalton will work with director Anne Drevno for eleven months.
The ClimateCorps program brings together people from all walks of life united by a passion for sustainability and environmental justice. In discussing their motivations for joining, the fellows expressed the desire to take time off post-grad, gain hands-on experience, and deepen their knowledge of sustainable practices. Solis added the fellows’ desire to take all they will learn and “teach our families and [...] communities.”
Another attraction for fellows are the financial awards of up to $10,000 given at the completion of 1,700 hours of service through a combination of the Segal and California For All education awards. Fellows can use these awards to help them cover education related expenses such as certificate and graduate school programs, school supplies, and student loans upon completion of their service.
The fellows’ days typically begin with meetings, either as a team or with on-campus entities to discuss Saint Mary’s various sustainability programs. After a break for lunch, the fellows transition to working in the garden. As summer comes to an end garden tasks include weeding, mulching, removing summer plants, and planting winter and cover crops.
In the coming weeks, the garden will receive an exciting new addition—ninety native plants obtained through a Xerces Society for Invertebrates grant—and continue working on other events and projects aimed at involving the student body. The fellows discussed getting the garden’s pizza oven up and running, hosting a dance with the Garden Club, and collaborating with the free-store to host a sustainable Halloween pop-up.
While these events are geared towards engaging the on-campus community, Drevno emphasized her goal to grow the garden so it can support the local community off-campus. Drevno focused on food justice, which she describes as “looking at our food systems and the way [they create] inequities and [are] perpetually unsustainable in [their] farming practices, harming the most vulnerable communities.”
Drevno hopes that through implementing systems to increase the growth and distribution of the garden’s produce, the garden will become a “regional hub for food justice and sustainable practices.” Drevno plans to create a farm stand for fresh garden-grown produce and increase partnerships with local food justice organizations, such as the Alameda Point Collaborative, to prompt “discussions [about food justice] in the Bay Area and beyond.”
As the garden nears its 13 year anniversary, Drevno reflects on the work of past garden stewards and volunteers, expressing gratitude for all they did to establish the garden and build the foundation for what it is today. The onboarding of the CA ClimateCorps fellows will help support Drevno in helping the garden deliver “healthy, culturally appropriate, food” to local on and off-campus communities, a goal which strongly aligns with Saint Mary’s Lasallian values and current strategic sustainability plan.
If you are interested in getting involved, the Legacy Garden is located behind the South Claeys dormitory and volunteer hours are Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4:30PM and Fridays from 12:00-2:00PM.
Madison Sciba '24,