Here at the Cope Family Center “Farm,” we specialize in over-sized vegetables, particularly squash! Just one of these could probably feed a family of five! It’s been a productive summer, to say the least, and continuing thanks goes to our volunteers and Master Gardener supervisors. We’ve been so lucky to have the continued involvement of Water-Wise Women Cheryl Toivola and Mary Hudson, as well as experienced gardeners like Mary Cammarota and Chris Hattich of Hattich Ranch & Farm (who provided the starters for the garden this year).
Last month we spread a new layer of compost, graciously donated by Napa Waste and Recycling, and we’ve been trying to keep up with our harvest ever since. This month a family of five came out to volunteer and it was great seeing the little ones harvest beans, basil, and tomatoes while their older siblings pruned some of the perennials. Thanks mom for getting your whole family involved!
Cope Family Center participated as a host garden for the Bay Friendly Garden Tour on Sunday May 6th. Read more about the event, covered in the Napa Register. Over the past two years, we coordinated this project to replace our water-thirsty lawn with sustainable, edible plants and vegetables in order to conserve our resources and have a vibrant space for our families.
The Garden Project is a part of Cope’s partnership with Sustainable Napa County (SNC), which began in September 2009. After an exhaustive assessment of both the building – a converted Victorian home on Fourth Street – and the staff’s practices, SNC made recommendations on property improvements and behavioral habits that Cope should implement. SNC estimates that approximately half of the energy savings Cope will see comes from how efficiently the building and the systems operate; the other half is a direct result of how people who work or live in the building behave.
A committee of dedicated volunteers oversaw the Garden Project from design to completion and maintenance. Water Wise Women’s Mary Hudson and Cheryl Toivola created the garden’s design, with input from the committee. Over the course of the project the following groups have contributed their time and talents: Sustainable Napa County, Water Wise Women, UC Master Gardeners of Napa County, New Roots Landscaping, Napa Valley CanDo, Napa County Recycling & Waste, Eagle Scouts, Nurseries: DJ’s, Van Winden’s, Mid City, Napa Sonoma Junior League, Exertec Health Center, Annie’s Homegrown, Napa Christian, Valley-Vine 4-H, and Kaiser.
Our water-wise garden adventure continues! In October we planted our first Winter garden and now we’re beginning to reap our rewards! All of this is possible, of course, because of the efforts of volunteers like you. Since October, groups from Kaiser in Vallejo, Napa Christian, and Valley Vine 4-H club have helped out at Open Garden Days, as well as many kind individuals. Open Garden Days are supervised by Water Wise Women and UC Master Gardeners of Napa County, Mary Hudson and Cheryl Toivola, who volunteered to provide consultation on the garden design. We are so pleased with their continued involvement!
Planted in our veggie beds are two kinds of beets, broccolli, red and romaine lettuce, swiss and rainbow chard, garlic, green onions, carrots, parsnips, and globe onions. Fresh harvested produce is set out for the community to take as well as distributed to families in need. Most of our chard is bolting! So we will be harvesting most of this soon. We expect carrots, parsnips, and onions to be ready later.
We’re also proud that our garden will be featured for the Bay Friendly Garden tour on May 6th. Come on by and enjoy the festivities! But of course, as your local family resource center, families are welcome to come by and enjoy the garden any time!
By Aimee Inglis, Community Engagement Program Manager
Volunteering at Cope Family Center is like going to a friend’s house. They have a very welcoming atmosphere and I am always greeted with a smile. My primary volunteer job at Cope is with the CAPC (Child Abuse Prevention Council) program. I work with Molly Arnott, program manager, who does an amazing job spreading awareness of the latest child abuse prevention methods. My favorite part about CAPC is the educational program called CAPP (Child Assault Prevention Program) where Molly and a group of dedicated volunteers go to different schools (Grades 1, 3, and 5) and they talk to them on how to be safe and how to stand up for themselves and be strong against any form of abuse. I am so proud to be part of such a great program.
I also like to help out with Cope’s community garden, which by the way looks great. This garden is an awesome tool to teach our families the importance of healthy eating. I love coming to Open Garden Days and play in the garden.
I feel so lucky to be part of such a great agency. The ladies at Cope definitely let you know how much you are appreciated. I witness first hand how important Cope Family Center is to our families in our community.