We've Got the Beets: Eat, Meet & Greet at Altadena Garden

Jul 8, 2009

Altadena Community Garden Annual Picnic

Hometown Pasadena’s Sandy Gillis writes:

Summer in the community garden

Summer in the community garden

It’s time once again for Altadena Community Garden’s annual barbecue, for which 108 of us community gardeners have given up our keyboards, our reading time, even some weeding (see plot #44) of the 65 plots in the garden to prepare for a lazy summer afternoon of homemade food, slow-cooked meats, jazz and garden-wise education booths. Anyone within shouting distance of Altadena is invited to attend. Yes, you!

The barbecue, an annual party that’s been going on for 35 years, is a literal hoedown that usually happens sometime in July. This year, it’s July 11, when all of crispy Los Angeles is still ticked off about the lack of hand-held fireworks the weekend before. No, there won’t be any sparklers, unless we count gardener Irma Powell. She’s a firecracker. But the L.A. County Fire Department will have a shiny red truck parked out front, and lots of patient firefighters in uniform. And they’re not just coming for the hot links and fresh lemonade — they’ll chat up your kids, your grandpa, even you.

The three-acre community garden opened in 1974 on the former site of the Mt. Lowe Military Academy; large boulder entry columns host a plaque that says so. This year the academy’s biennial reunion coincides with the garden event, so it’s a combined celebration. Besides having the chance to mix it up with old boarding-school boys and old-school and green-wave gardeners, there will be choice raffle items, reps from the L.A. County Common Ground Master Gardeners, eco-friendly landscapers Mother Magnolia bearing recipes for all-natural fertilizer, the Brown Mountain Jazz Band, Supervisor Mike Antonovich and representatives from L.A. County Parks and Lincoln Avenue Water Company, to whom the garden owes a debt of gratitude.

Plate-loading at last year's barbecue

Plate-loading at last year's barbecue

The food service committee, spearheaded by Imelda Valenzuela, Sheila Grady, Haru Kuromiya and Michiko Lynch, along with advisor/firecracker Irma Powell and garden president Sylvera Grant, has spent countless hours cultivating not only their own fruits and vegetables, but a wide array of delish handmade foods, desserts and beverages. Hey, locovores! Many of the foods offered will have been grown right here.

There is currently a two-and-a-half year waiting list for a plot at the Altadena Community Garden, not uncommon at community gardens in L.A. County. This public picnic is a great chance to take a tour and talk to gardeners to see if it might be worth your while to get on the waiting list. The garden offers water service, tools, mulch, organic fertilizer, seeds and a community of experienced gardeners, all for a nominal annual fee. Sometimes, for $8 more, lunch and a jazz band is included.

Altadena Community Garden Annual Picnic
Saturday, July 11, 1 – 5 p.m.
Admission $8 (kids 5 and under free, 6 to 12 $4)
Loma Alta Park, 3330 N. Lincoln Ave., Altadena

4 Responses for “We've Got the Beets: Eat, Meet & Greet at Altadena Garden”

  1. Ann Erdman says:

    How nice. Pasadena has a small community garden at the northwest corner of Maple Street and Oakland Avenue.

  2. Sandy Gillis says:

    Thanks! I will check it out… The Altadena Community Garden annual bbq was quite awesome today! The salads were incredible, the ribs were killer good, and the jazz band and the roots band were Hollywood Bowl-worthy!

  3. Sandy Gillis says:

    Not to belabor the point… but did I mention over 400 people attended today? Ah, life is good in the garden.

  4. colleen says:

    wow, wish I could have been there! 400 people is fabulous. Congratulations.



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