California History Center/Community Gardens

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Community Gardens Project

The California History Center currently has an exhibit up on an early demonstration organic garden and farm built during the 1970s in Saratoga (torn down in the 1980s). This has launched us into trying to link up with efforts on campus and off to promote gardening and sustainable agriculture.

  1. Create a WikiEducator account - click on the create account link at the top right of this page.
  2. Review the introduction information about editing and writing in a wiki
  3. Some specific ideas are listed below. You work on those first.
  4. Search the web for articles that address the issues of the Community Gardens in Saratoga. Add links and a brief description of the article to the list below. Click on the [edit] link and write directly onto this wiki page. This is a public page, so everyone else working on this project will always see the "current" view of the work. The California History Center coordinators will also be able to review your work and provide suggestions.
  5. Look through photo resources for images that are related to the community gardens and sustainable agriculture. Add these to the links, as well.

We want to work with students and classes to help create a listing of information about organic gardens, demonstration farms, and sustainable agriculture organizations that local community and our students can access. Some of this information we want to encourage students to use in creating some sort of displays that can be put up in our exhibit hall along side of the exhibit. Other lists could go on a web page.


Here are some key words/phrases:

  • South Bay area or Santa Clara County organic gardening
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Demonstration gardens or farms for schools and community
  • Community (or city) gardens

A lot of the local cities (Sunnyvale, Cupertino, San Jose, etc.) have community gardens or demonstration gardens. Search the local city's sites to see what info. they have.

We would like to compile a list of sites as well as documents about South Bay area organic gardens, demonstration farms, or other local organizations working on sustainability and agricultural issues. While we are primarily interested in the South Bay, organizations and sources with important information that may help students and community members better understand this issue are welcomed as well.

Our Librarian/Archivist, Lisa Christiansen invites you to come by and visit our library if that is all possible (not required). She can show you what the CHC has so far.

At a minimum, we want to create a binder of resources we can leave out in the exhibit hall to go along with our exhibit about Saratoga Garden. Guests could then access this site and find out how to get involved locally. We will publish this list in our membership magazine.

Projects we know about that you can start with:

  • Prusch Park - in San Jose
  • Hidden Villa - Saratoga
  • Common Ground (a gardening store and organic farming org.)
  • Full Circle Farm (in Sunnyvale)

For each of these (any any others that you discover, add an entry to this page including a description, what they do, what resources they have, how to contact them.

There are many, many more, but that is why we need a list and description for them!

History - organic garden and farm built during the 1970s in Saratoga

Emma Prusch was a native San Josean who bequeathed 87 acres of land to the city of San Jose in 1962. Only 47 acres is left now from the original gift. Community volunteers helped create a rural country atmosphere with agricultural displays and educational events. Heritage, two community gardens for picnic and playing, a plant science center, fruit orchards are all included in the park. There is also a small farm where they rise chickens, rabbits, and pigs. -- AA

The Pecks couple who has been living in Saratoga for more than five decades have a quaint Craftsman house and historic treasures in a 1 1/4 acre yard. The yard have leafy footpaths that leads to chicken and goat pen. They have built an outdoor amphitheater with a balcony like the "Romeo and Juliet" Shakespeare productions. --AA

West garden on Saratoga Avenue founded by Lilyann Brannon 26 years ago is battling with the San Jose West Valley library on taking the garden to expand the library. The librarians claim that they do not have other alternatives. Building a second floor to the library would be much more expensive. They must expand the library because they got tired of students sitting down on the floor between bookshelves reading books when all the seats are taken. They also need to place in 26 more computers for people to come and use them for free. The garden has been served as the community garden open for anyone willing to pay the $50 annual fee. The gardeners say that "it is one of the last vestiges of San Jose's agrarian past (it used to be an apricot orchard), it has historical value to boot". --AA

Organic gardens

Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are not found in organic gardens. However, there is more to organic gardening than that. An organic gardener strives to work in harmony with natural systems, from the water supply down to the insect life. Organic gardening hopes to minimize the resources a garden consumes, while continually replenishing the resources. Here are a list of all the organic gardens in the bay area. - SD

List of Organic Gardens in the Bay Area

The Common Ground Organic Garden Supply and Education Center is located in Palo Alto help educate community about eating organic. They have many different resources where you can find information to help you grow your own organic food, or locate local organic grocery stores, farmers market, produce delivery service, farms, brand foods, Restaurants and other local organic resources. -- AA

The Health Trust has joined ten local community organizations to form the Silicon Valley HealthCorps. The Silicon Valley HealthCorps is designed to help schools and community promote a healthier eating and physical activity in the sense of engaging as a community. Their goal is to bring fresh fruits, vegetables and education to the residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties through the school programs and the 46 volunteers of AmeriCorp. --AA

Los Gatos Community Garden provides the oldest high school agriculture/horticulture program. --AA

Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale offers the freshest vegetables and fruits in the Silicon Valley. They practice sustainable agriculture no chemical fertilizers or pesticides in their foods. --AA

Master Gardeners practice sustainable agriculture, and provide programs to train people interested in becoming master gardeners in the Santa Clara community through sustainable gardening practices. --AA

Omorganics have everything you need to know about sustainable agriculture, food local, cooking and distributions, community gardens, school gardens, land conversation & sustainable development, farmers market, restaurants, retail, wholesale and so much more. Go to --AA

Demonstration farms

A demonstration farm is a privately owned farm that is open to the public for informational purposes. These farms usually endorse environmentally friendly policies. Here, local landowners are able to get farming advice, get their questions answered, and view demonstrations of stewardship. A demonstration farm is usually top notch in quality. Here are a list of demonstration farms in the Bay Area. - SD

List of Demonstration Farms in the Bay Area

Hidden Villa is a nonprofit educational organization located in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The organization mission is to inspire a just and sustainable future by providing opportunities and education about the environment and social justice. The land was founded by Frank and Josephine Duveneck, who purchased the 1600 acres of open space land in 1924. The Trust for Hidden Villa was established as a nonprofit in 1960. -- AA

The Santa Clara University has a link to the Ulistac Natural Area Restoration and Education Project (UNAREP) that teach people of all ages about the Santa Clara Valley's natural and human history. The city park designed in Jan 1997, was the last 40 acres open space open in the city of Santa Clara. To learn more information on volunteering in the UNAPEP project go to --AA

A 40 acre of wildlife nursery established by Gerda Isenberg in 1960 in Yerba Buena. This nursery has native to California plants and specimens ranging from 0 to 25 years of age. They have a great variety of beautiful plant and wildflowers collections many that are rare. The land is divided into different sects. They have a 2.5 acre demonstration garden and a 2 acre botanical garden that has the beauty and sense of history of the Woodside area. --AA

Sustainable Agriculture

There are three main goals of sustainable agriculture: environmental stewardship, farm profitability, and prosperous farming. The goal is sustainable agriculture is produce crops without causing irreversible damage to the Earth. Agriculture has changed dramatically in the last half-century. The World's population has grown, and everybody must eat food to survive. This is resulted in mechanization, increased chemical use, and specialization. Although these processes have benefits, they also have severe consequences. These environmental consequences has led many to adopt sustainable agriculture: a practical way to solve the environmental issues of farming. - SD

Sustainable Agriculture Organizations

Slow Food USA. Slow food USA idea is to grow healthy, clean, and good plants and animals. Also to create fair accessibility to local communities. --AA

Urban Ecology mission is to plan and build ecologically healthy, socially just, and economically fair community and neighborhood in the Bay area. They were found in 1975. The organization provide land use planning, hands-on assistance, and architectural services. --- AA

The CPR (California Pesticide Reform) organization is designed to create policies to protect California's agriculture by eliminating the use of Methyl Iodide and promoting sustainable communities, homes, and yards. --AA

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)is a national alliance of farm, rural development, and conservation groups. It was organized in 1988. The organization provide support to small and mid-size family farms directly by developing policies and direct representations to build the power of sustainability. --AA

The CUESA (Center for Urban Educational about Sustainable Agriculture) is an organization designed to promote sustainable food system through Farmers Market and educational programs. --AA

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. Non-profit organizing and educating center and organic farm. --AA

Organizations working on sustainability and agricultural issues --AA

Community Grocery stores for organic foods in the East Bay. --AA

University of California agriculture literacy for a sustainable food system. --AA

Marin Organic --AA

Here is a link to many local environmental organizations --AA

Look up local organizations in your state - - SD

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education - - SD


A Japanese cultural garden was initiated in 1915 when cultural leaders Oliver and Isabel Stine purchased 18 acres of Saratoga hillside. It was named after Isabel's one of her favorite places in Japan, Fuji-Hakone National Park. --AA



The movie Food Inc is about bringing out to the open what the food industry has concealed from the American consumer with a consent from the USDA and FDA in the food the Americans eat. The nation is controlled by a corporation that puts profit ahead of health, Farmers, and the safety of workers and the environment. The food supplied contains harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. -- AA

Organic Farming --AA --AA

Organic Food --AA

Organic Meats --AA

Images and information about parks around the Bay area. --AA

Mercury News Article on Saratoga Gardens -SD

List of Community Gardens in Northern California - SD