Sacramento Eyes Community Garden As Potential Safety Hazard

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — “Look at this; someone thinks it’s just weeds,” said Ellen Goranov.

To her, it’s groceries for her family, and sometimes the less fortunate.

“We can share all this if we have extras, she said.

Her heirloom tomatoes and table grapes are part of the International Garden of Many Colors. It’s a two-acre community garden off Garden Highway, put in place two decades ago under an unofficial agreement with former Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo.

Over time, the garden grew from one to 40 plots. The vegetables are as diverse as the gardeners—most of them immigrants living in the low-income apartments next door.

“For me a joy for everybody,” said Goranov.

But the roots Goranov and her neighbors put down here, may be uprooted. The City of Sacramento wants to get rid of the garden because officials say it’s a safety hazard. They say the towering trees are too close to the power lines; the gates aren’t grounded; the tarp and metal that portion the plots are highly flammable; the uneven paths make it inaccessible for the disabled; even the piping is a mess. The gardeners route the water from their apartment complex.

“It’s pretty haphazard, but fact of the matter is it’s worked for decades, so we’re very sensitive to that,” said City Councilman Jeff Harris.

Harris says the city even built a brand-new garden adjacent to the old one. It cost a quarter of a million dollars, has even plots and sturdy gates. But the community says it’s not that easy to move.

“These plots have peach trees, cherry trees — some of the things you can’t just pick up and move,” says Neighbor Josiah Gorter.

Gorter organizes gardening classes for kids in the community. He’s helping Goranov convince the city to keep the old crops and simply help clean up around it.

“To accept each other’s differences not just to destroy,” she said.

More from Lemor Abrams
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