Laguna is a close-knit community that supports creativity and art, that believes in protecting our natural resources, and offers unique opportunities that shape the life of its youth, but only because many of us have fought continuously to protect these unique qualities. We have done this in the face of population increase, pollution, and development. In short, the Laguna way of life is so treasured because we have had to work so hard to preserve it.
As a Laguna native, I believe the opportunities and programs offered in Laguna Beach to its citizens positively influenced me, especially as a child and young adult. I am now a mother and have dedicated myself to developing the children’s program at the South Laguna Community Garden Park for over eight years.
For me, the Garden Park represents precisely what many of we locals have fought to keep. It fosters community, improves the health of our citizens, educates the public, and provides recreation, all while attracting wildlife and beautifying a street corner that was once a vacant lot filled with trash and weeds. Some are opposed to the city spending funds to preserve the garden because they argue that it doesn’t serve enough members of the community. Even if that were true, there are many activities that the city supports that are not used by all.
As the welcoming sign says, the Garden Park is open to the public from sunrise to sunset. Visitors can be found strolling down the paths or sitting at one of the many tables or benches daily. Since the Garden Park’s opening in 2009 350 members who have built and maintained the garden have learned gardening skills and more about healthy eating. Additionally, the garden has offered over 30 free public classes, and nearly 30 gatherings.
I would like to thank the City Council for supporting the Garden Park because to me, and to a lot of locals, the garden represents what we would like Laguna to be about. It makes us want to raise our own kids here.
If you’ve never experienced the magic of the garden for yourself, come to the next community pot-luck and hear the Garden Band play. As always, the entire community is invited and it’s an experience somewhere between a barn raising and a hoedown that you’ll never forget.
Carly Sciacca, Laguna Beach