Community Gardens

Community Gardens are the heart and soul of Mesa Verde Gardens. In 2011, the coming together of right idea, right time, right place launched a nascent community garden movement in the Pajaro Valley region of south Santa Cruz County. With generous support from the larger community, Mesa Verde Gardens started its first Community Garden with 30 member families on a ¼ acre parcel leased from All Saints Episcopal Church in Watsonville, CA.  Since then, we’ve launched 6 other Community Gardens, with a total of 220 member families and 3+ acres in cultivation.

We have a new three-quarter acre community garden project – space for 50 additional families to grow their own food – coming in 2016, thanks to our partnership with Pajaro Valley Unified School District!

How it Works

Through targeted community outreach presentations we seek families who do not have a place at home where they can grow food. Start-up funding for each site comes from individual community members, foundation grants, and local businesses. Following launch year, each site is primarily run by Peer Leaders, experienced Mesa Verde Gardeners trained to take responsibility for overall operation of the garden, new member enrollment and orientation and troubleshooting. 

  • Plots measure 15’ x 12’; members plant crops of own choosing in manner preferred
  • All projects are pesticide-free
  • Drip irrigation or watering cans are only methods of watering allowed, due to drought conditions
  • Member families pay $8/month to cover land and water costs, plus are asked to contribute 2 hours/month toward common projects

Our Gardens

Mi Jardin Verde

Our flagship and largest Community Garden! Includes a common corn patch and two other common garden areas, demonstration garden, fruit tree nursery, orchard and picnic area. Located on property owned by All Saints Episcopal Church.

  • Founded: 2011
  • Size: ¾ acre
  • # of families: 56
  • Location: 437 Rogers Ave., Watsonville, CA

La Vision del Paraiso

A vibrant, well-maintained Community Garden tucked within an active neighborhood. Many excellent gardeners and a strong partnership with Rev. Robin Mathews-Johnson. Located on property owned by Watsonville First United Methodist Church.

  • Founded: 2012
  • Size: ¼ acre
  • # of families: 22
  • Location: 229 Stanford St., Watsonville, CA

Un Pedazo del Cielo

Our smallest Community Garden, located right on the front lawn of Lutheran Community Church. Six of the dedicated member families are from one extended family!

  • Founded: 2012
  • Size: 3400 sq ft
  • # of families: 10
  • Location: 95 Alta Vista Ave., Watsonville, CA

Live Oak Community Garden

Our first project in mid-county has a demonstration garden and nearly a dozen young fruit trees. It’s on a sunny, open parcel in the thriving center of Live Oak. Located on property owned by United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz. Diverse garden membership makes for many gardening styles, and lots of co-learning/teaching.

  • Founded: 2014
  • Size: ½ acre
  • # of families: 49
  • Location: 2091 17th Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA

Jardin Comunitario Valle Verde

Our first garden under a Memorandum of Understanding with Pajaro Valley Unified School District, this garden is on the grounds of Rolling Hills Middle School. Graced by a wonderful mural painted by students, the garden draws residents from the densely-populated surrounding neighborhood who seek space to grow their own food.

  • Founded: 2015
  • Size: ¼ acre
  • # of families: 27
  • Location: 130 Herman Ave., Watsonville, CA

Jardin de la Comunidad Pajaro

Our first garden in Pajaro, the development of this now-fertile space involved removing 15 inches of sand and replacing it with topsoil, which we accomplished with help from our supporters at C and N Tractors and Graniterock. This is our second garden situated on property owned by Pajaro Valley Unified School District.

  • Founded: 2015
  • Size: 4750 sq ft
  • # of families: 19
  • Location: 250 Salinas Road, Watsonville, CA

River Park Community Garden

Our first raised bed garden, River Park was established in partnership with the City of Watsonville on a vacant lot long plagued by crime and violence. Enrollment took just two days (!), an enthusiastic demonstration of support from the neighborhood residents. The raised garden beds got a facelift in August 2015, when local mural artists Jaime Sanchez of Monterey Bay Murals facilitated a mural painting project with gardeners and community members.

  • Founded: 2015
  • Size: raised garden beds, 6500 sq ft lot
  • # of families: 27
  • Location: E. Front and Union Streets, Watsonville, CA


Starlight Community Garden

Our newest garden is perched between a thriving elementary school, Starlight, and Diamond Technology Institute, a small (100-student) high school focused on developing students' skills in science, technology, arts and math. Launched on a rainy mid-April Saturday, community members came out in droves to line out the garden, dig trenches for the irrigation pipes, and envision a bountiful harvest. We're excited about the possibility of partnering with garden-based education programs at each school for extended day learning opportunities.

  • Founded: 2016
  • Size: 3/4 acre
  • # of families: 27
  • Location: Pennsylvania at Clifford Streets, Watsonville, CA