Community and collaboration are the air we breathe, the soil that we work in order to produce such an abundant harvest of benefits!
We currently garden on land owned by several churches, including All Saints Episcopal, First United Methodist Church, and Lutheran Community Churches in Watsonville and the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz. Mesa Verde Gardens has a Memorandum of Understanding with Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) that enables us, in consultation with PVUSD staff and school principals, to establish community gardens on property owned by the school district, which totaled approximately 500 acres as of July 2015. In 2015, we partnered with the City of Watsonville and elected officials to establish 27 raised bed garden plots on a vacant lot donated for our use by the City.
Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust, a longtime Mesa Verde Gardens funder that promotes improved health and well-being for residents of the Pajaro Valley, currently serves as our fiscal sponsor, lending its nonprofit (501(c)3) status and administrative support in exchange for a modest fee. To fulfill our mission, Mesa Verde Gardens also collaborates with organizations that share our commitment to supporting individuals and families to achieve food security and build self-reliance. These groups include the Community Agroecology Network (CAN) (which leads our evaluation efforts), Life Lab, Food What?!, Watsonville Film Festival, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (the MAH), and the City of Watsonville Department of Public Works & Utilities. We participate in the county-wide Go for Health collaborative. Our gardens also host researchers and visiting scholars from University of California Santa Cruz’ Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) and allied departments at the University of California Santa Cruz.
We have received extremely generous in-kind support from local businesses, including:
Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens, which provides greenhouse space and technical assistance with propagation each year
Santa Cruz Gardens Bee Works, which keeps bees at our Pajaro Community Orchard and donates a portion of business profits to Mesa Verde Gardens
San Lorenzo Lumber and Home Center, which gives Mesa Verde Gardens a 15% discount on all purchases
Johnny's Seeds, which also deeply discounts Mesa Verde Gardens' seed purchase