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San Bernardino Community Garden Aims To Nourish The City’s Underserved Population

Chet Williams

An organic community garden in San Bernardino aims to improve nutrition among the underserved and combat the city’s status as a food desert.

The “Jardín de la Salud,” Spanish for “Garden of Health,” is an initiative of Loma Linda University’s Community-Academic Partners in Service, or CAPS, which is part of the university’s Institute for Community Partnerships.

The one-acre organic garden serves undernourished communities in San Bernardino, and is run in collaboration with the nonprofit Huerta del Valle, which operates another garden in Ontario.

Nearly 30 families received plots of land this year to grow produce such as tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, and more.

Karla Estudillo-Fuentes is the program manager for CAPS.

“So especially in San Bernardino, there's this influx of warehouses that's been happening for years, a really big lack of green spaces where people can recreate outside safely, and so here in San Bernardino it was something that we were able to do with the community garden is instead of a green space being taken away because of a warehouse, because of this type of productivity it's really a green space being brought in, being cultivated and from that coming food, coming organic produce," Estudillo-Fuentes says.

"Everything is grown organically, people are taught how to do that if they don't know how, if they don't have experience, and so it's really being able to not just cultivate green spaces recreationally but also food and being able to teach that to younger generations.”

The garden also has a market which is held the first Tuesday and third Sunday every month.

Next summer’s garden harvest is estimated to fill 250 boxes of produce to be distributed to San Bernardino families.

Full disclosure: Loma Linda University is a KVCR underwriter.