Benicia Community Gardens - Our Community Gardening Partner

Benicia Community Gardeners

The mission of Benicia Community Gardens is to encourage and enable local citizens to establish and care for gardens throughout the city that provide ongoing sources of healthful food, fellowship, beauty and discovery.

Contact Benicia Community Gardens by clicking here.

Whether you garden at home or not, have only two hours to spend or want to do more. . .Benicia Community Garden is a place to dig in, sprout a grreen thumb & become an urban farmer. At Benicia Community Garden, there are raised beds, an herb garden & ornamental flower beds with native plants, annuals & perennials. The Garden is always changing.

Benicia Community Gardens, Inc. is an independent non-profit organization, created by local residents.

Established in 2003 as a non-profit [designated by the IRS as a “charity” 501(c)3], Benicia Community Gardens, Inc. is an independent, grassroots voluntary organization administered by a small, working board of directors that sets policy, raises funds and oversees BCG’s educational program and the development of the gardens established under its jurisdiction. BCG’s mission is primarily educational, serving goals of the City of Benicia’s Climate Action Plan to provide for local food security by growing food within city limits wherever possible and feasible. Growing food locally increases community resilience and reduces energy costs associated to all facets of food production, distribution and transport, providing opportunity for people to economically provide nutritious food for their families. Food produced is harvested for private use by gardeners or may be donated.

Folks of all ages, capabilities and levels of experience—individuals, families, special classes, students—are welcome to participate to learn about and practice ecologically beneficial organic farming methods. BCG’s “hands on” approach encourages experimentation and includes friendly mentoring and various seasonal workshops to help people learn about our local ecology and gain new skills suitable for small scale food production in home yards and other undeveloped parcels where water is available. Composting, soil preparation, bio-intensive planting, sheet mulching, eco-friendly pest management, tool maintenance, pruning techniques and irrigation methods for water conservation are some of the basic subjects covered.

BCG activities are recreational, physical and social—they bring pleasure, provide exercise and encourage healthy living, friendly, civic relations and strengthened community ties. BCG hosts a potluck picnic on the first Wednesday of the month, beginning at noon at our principal garden at Military and East 2nd called Swenson Garden. Anyone can join in. It’s always a feast!

BCG gardeners also help out with the schools’ gardening programs. BCG volunteers, working togetherwith Master Gardeners, parents and teachers, are currently assisting at Mary Farmer Elementary’s gardenduring lunch hour and are helping at Robert Semple. BCG seeks volunteers to help develop garden programs at other school sites, too.

How you can be involved with BCG

BCG has no membership fees and there are no charges for use of a raised bed. BCG provides the basics: raised beds, including eco-soil to fill them, garden tools and equipment for general use on site. Periodically, compost materials are provided for general use. Tree companies (A+ Tree Service and Solano Shade) deliver wood chips free of charge so that we can create and maintain garden paths around beds.

If you’d like to sign up for a raised bed at Swenson Garden or Avant Garden, please tell us! If you’d like to volunteer at one of the school gardens, let us know! If you’d like to start a community garden elsewhere in the city, BCG is happy to advise and work with you. If you’d like to contribute to BCG’s urban farming mission, we welcome donations, including basic garden materials, equipment and tools. Contact Benicia Community Garden by clicking here.

BCG has a potluck picnic at noon, on the first Wednesday of each month, all gardeners welcome.

BCG has two locations, one at the corner of East 2nd and Military East and the other at 1st and D:

BCG at Military and East 2nd – Swenson Garden
Created in 1999, by Megumi Grumio (“Meg”) and the late Dr. Ed Swenson, with help of an initial grant
awarded by Solano County through the Healthy Benicia Initiative, our first and primary garden is located
on property owned by Heritage Presbyterian Church. The land has been leased on BCG’s behalf by the City
of Benicia, for $1/year. BCG appreciates the generosity and goodwill of Heritage Presbyterian Church and
the City. Swenson Garden is the primary location for teaching purposes and continues to be a “work in
progress,” serving as a showcase for routine practices that constitute sustainable organic farming methods
for year-round food production. As a working garden, it is continually being re-created and changed by the
those who tend it over time. There are 18 raised beds for individual or shared use, an herb garden and
border areas for raspberry vines, sprawling squash plants, perennials and ornamentals. Under contract to BCG for her services, Meg is a professionally trained horticulturalist now in her 11th year overseeing work at Swenson Garden. Always congenial, Meg offers informal coaching and encouragement to gardeners and provides continuity, program coordination, consultation and public outreach, working with the Master Gardener’s Program and City of Benicia to host various workshops at Swenson Garden.

BCG at First & D – Avant Garden, a “moveable” garden initiative

In fall of 2010, BCG signed a very favorable lease agreement (for $20/mo) with Estey Real Estate to establish a second community garden downtown, at First and East D streets. We’re calling it Avant Garden because it represents an experiment not only to provide wider opportunity for more people to observe and practice organic urban farming, but also, because BCG will be making private, undeveloped property in the heart of our historic commercial district productively used for growing food. Since the property remains for sale, BCG must remove the garden at once if the land sells. The intent, should this happen, would be to find another suitable location for a garden. Thus, Avant Garden is designed to minimize costs and allow things to be moved, recycled or turned back to the earth on site.  A  “patio” (bordering the fence along First St.), has been installed and features colorful concrete planters made by local Arsenal sculptor, Mary Oros and donated to BCG by Gene Doherty. A shed stores tools. equipment and other supplies.