Starr King UU Church in Hayward, CA partnered with Hayward Community Gardens to help low income immigrant families use plots to grow their food in a variety of ways.

One of the first ways that they got involved with Hayward Community Gardens was  Renee & Darryl Ray, Starr King members, taught a composting workshop on April 25, 2009 for the community gardens.  At the workshop they were able to give out water timers and 20 Biostack composting bins due to a donation from the City and StopWaste.org.  Interpreters were there for the Spanish speaking community.  Starr King also got donations of 150 tomato plants from a local organic farmer. Sandy Frost, a Hayward Community Garden board member and volunteer helped to organize the workshop as well as supplying a wonderful local food spread.  Because the workshop was so successful, it was offered again in May and August of 2009.

Starr King participated in two volunteer workdays in 2010.  The first workday they helped to measure each of the 200+ plots to help determine what each member should pay for their plots.  The second work day, strong workers helped to build big compost piles.  With manure donations, clipped leaves and branches from their property and bales of straw, workers built three compost piles. The compost has helped to enrich soil, save water and improve crops.

Then, Starr King member Terry Hunt was commissioned by the City of Hayward to make a series of seven park benches depicting the diversity and history of Hayward. Because of Starr King’s commitment to Hayward Community Gardens, he specifically made one in their name.  The benches serve a meaningful reminder of how important this community garden is.  They will be spread throughout Hayward, and, with the Hayward Community Garden bench included, will make the community more aware of the gardens.

Starr King UU Church was accredited as a Green Sanctuary on July 28, 2010.  Check out the full list of accredited Green Sanctuaries at the UUA website

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Robin Nelson

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