Garden grows with inmate aid
by Lenny Roberts
Last week, Todd Road Jail inmates assigned to work duty at
the Ojai Police Station spread mulch donated by Oscar's Tree
Service at the Ojai Community Demonstration Garden.
The garden, adjacent to City Hall on South Ventura Street, was
established 19 years ago with Environmental Protection Agency
grant funding issued to both the city of Ojai and county of Ventura.
The purpose of the garden is to educate the public on how to
decrease tonnage sent to local landfills while using the recycled
material created in backyard compost systems.
According to environmentalist Sasha Wolfe, most area nurseries
have supplied water-saving, native plants for the garden, which
features a highly efficient drip irrigation system and drought-resistant
ground covers in lieu of typical water-hungry lawns. No petrochemicals
are used at the demonstation garden, which is open to the public
every day from dawn to dusk and supervised by Ojai Public Works
Director Stan Hakes.
The program also helps the inmates get fresh air and perspective.
Johnny Young, of Oak View, said, "It makes you feel like
you're putting back into the community instead of taking out."
The Ojai Community Demonstration Garden is a volunteer project
of the city of Ojai, and invites anyone with an interest in gardening,
and some time to commit, to participate. Interested parties may
call the Ojai City Hall at 646-5581 to inquire about volunteer
There is no cost to visitors and all workshops are free. A self-interpretive
tour is always available through signage, brochures and handouts.
A docent is available through advanced reservation for private
group tours for a nominal fee. A volunteer handbook and educational
printed material are available at the garden bulletin board in
the parking area. The garden and City Hall grounds are available
for rent for private group events. Call the Ojai Public Works
Department at 640-2560 or e-mail publicworks @ci.ojai.ca.us for
information, fees and insurance requirements.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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of Oxnard, spreads mulch at the demonstration garden. "It's
like a second chance,"