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Volunteers Bring ‘Free Food Park’ To City Heights

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 6.43.04 PMSam Tall (center), from City Farmers Nursery, helps children set up planters for Eat San Diego’s free food park in City Heights on July 29, 2017. The park is on El Cajon Boulevard and Central Avenue.

By Maureen Cavanaugh, Michael Lipkin
Logo for K P B S San Diego

The volunteer group Eat San Diego launched the city’s largest free food park in City Heights on Saturday. Volunteers planted a peach tree, strawberries, kale and other fruits and vegetables. Once the food is ready this fall and winter, it will be available for anyone to pick and eat.

Eat San Diego has set up similar curbside gardens before, including two in Ocean Beach and one in Point Loma, near bus stops and outside businesses. The City Heights park is on El Cajon Boulevard and Central Avenue.

“We just think there’s a better way to use our public spaces that are just sitting there ripe for the picking,” Eat San Diego co-founder and City Heights resident Kelly Colt said.

The land is leased by the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement District, which let the volunteer group use the space for the next few years. Colt said the total cost for the garden was about $2,000 for planters, trees, plants and soil.

The biggest challenge for now is bringing water to the site. Colt says she fills up containers and drives them to the park on her way to work. She hopes additional volunteers will be able to help soon, or that a nearby business lets Eat San Diego use its water.

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