Volunteer students from Granada and Le Grand High Schools arrived at the Planada Community Church to begin the first planting for the new Planada community garden. In honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, and in a gesture to show community unity, students and Le Grand High School teacher Monica Bianchi, planted winter vegetables.
"It was as though the day was meant for planting,” said Bianchi. "With cool weather and gray skies, it’s just what young seedlings like.” The students unloaded dozens of six-packs of broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, leaf lettuce, radish and sweet peas, grown by Granada and Le Grand High Schools’ horticultural students. The youth named the garden the "9/11 Unity Garden.”
The garden is located behind the Planada Community Church on Stanford Street and is being partially funded with grant money through the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) project. Volunteers worked for three hours to install a drip irrigation system and planted the hundreds of plants in 300-foot rows.
After working at the Planada site, two of the students, Gilbert Sic and Stefania Villalobos, stayed to help finish planting in the Le Grand Community Miracle Garden.
Building Healthy Communities is a 10-year, $1 billion plan of The California Endowment. In connection with staff-led, statewide policy initiatives, 14 communities, including Southwest Merced/East Merced County, are taking action to make where they live healthier. They’re doing this by improving employment opportunities, education, housing, neighborhood safety, unhealthy environmental conditions, access to healthy food, according to a news release from BHC.