Greystone Community Garden Takes Root in Beverly Hills

The volunteer-supported project encourages sustainable gardening and watering techniques.

More than 40 people attended the kick-off meeting of the Friends of Greystone Garden Club, a project that aims to promote sustainable gardening and watering techniques by cultivating a community garden.

The meeting was held last week at . The project was spearheaded by Human Relations Commission Chair Barbara Linder, though the garden is separate from her commission responsibilities.

Linder initiated the project more than a year ago, planning the location of the garden, obtaining approval from the city, recruiting donors and getting locals involved—including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Volunteers will be tasked with composting, planting, weed-pulling and more.

The garden will sit on a 50x80-square-foot area near the greenhouse on the city-owned Greystone Estate. It will offer people a place to learn sustainable gardening and watering techniques for their own gardens. Beverly Hills Unified School District students can also earn community service credits by volunteering there. Produce grown will be donated to local food banks and meal programs.

The project will be completed in phases after its groundbreaking in April. Eagle Scout candidate Eric Shim of Boy Scout Troop 33 will build raised gardening beds with his group of volunteers Saturday, June 23 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. City contractor Crown Disposal is donating top soil and compost to fill the beds.

After the gardening beds are built, butterfly and bee habitats are scheduled for construction during the summer. Then comes the seasonal planting of leafy greens, beans, berries, corn and more. Additional raised beds will be added in the future.

Volunteer Soozie Eastman chairs the project's Planning, Planting and Harvesting Committee and will draft the garden's general layout. Marketing Manager Ellen Prager said the store will donate organic seeds for the garden and even provide snacks for the project's meetings. 

Human Relations Commissioner Tom Pease signed up to weed, help with pest control and spread the word about the garden as part of the outreach team. He is encouraged that the harvested produce is being donated. 

"It seems like a fun way to get food to people who need it," he said.

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