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Sunday, April 22, 2012

QGI's Palou Garden effort is determined to keep blooming

From the SF Examiner,
Photo: SF Examiner
After nearly three years, the Palou Community Garden is ready to open — whether or not it has funding.
Garden leaders say the effort to create the space at Palou Avenue and Dunshee Street has already given them plenty in the form of community rewards. But they will have to work a little harder to keep it afloat since their parent organization, Quesada Gardens, is struggling financially.
“Every nonprofit has its difficulties getting funding,” said Chris Waddling, one of the leaders of the Palou Community Garden.
Click here donate to the Quesada Gardens Initiative 
The Palou garden, roughly one-third of an acre, is on an arched piece of land above the Caltrain tunnel. Instead of letting it remain a blighted mess, nearby residents banded together in 2008 to turn it into a garden.
Project leaders, including Waddling, hope it can thrive as an educational center. Jeff Betcher, co-founder of Quesada Gardens, said he and the organization’s board of directors help other garden projects in the Bayview, such as Palou, get started because it can be a discouraging process.
“Permission takes years to get on a piece of land,” Betcher said.
Quesada Gardens grant funding is expected to run out by July, but Waddling and other members do not expect the Palou garden to fold. Waddling said he knows all the work that went into the garden’s creation — securing rights of way and other permissions from The City, and countless volunteer hours — is just the beginning. The group needs to test the soil, continue mulch work, create elevated plots and teach neighbors how to use the space.
But Waddling said he’s already seen results.
“I’ve found this community to be really open and friendly,” he said. “When I read about it in the news, it doesn’t feel like where I live.”
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner and come to our fundraiser event Saturday, April 28 from 10-noon at the Palou Garden, at the corner of Dunshee St and Palou.

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