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Fallbrook Community Garden sees improvements


Last updated 2/17/2021 at 11:50am

Jennifer Ibaven, Roger Boddaert, Darcy Cook and Stephanie Ortiz

Village News/Nancy Heins-Glaser photo

Jennifer Ibaven, Roger Boddaert, Darcy Cook and Stephanie Ortiz discuss Boddaert's original plans and pathways necessary for safety, ease and access.

The Fallbrook Community Garden, located at 1717 Alturas Road, has been providing residents of Fallbrook, Bonsall, and Rainbow an area to grow various crops and meet with other gardening lovers since 2007.

The Fallbrook Community Garden was initiated in 2007 by Mission Resource Conservation District District Manager Judy Mitchell and Roger Boddaert, a local award-winning arborist and landscape designer. This property was donated by the Fallbrook Public Utility District, and they contracted MRCD to manage it.

The garden is currently a community collaboration between the Fallbrook Public Utilities District, MRCD, VOCES de Fallbrook and the Fallbrook Land Conservancy. Initially, the goal of the garden was to provide local residents the opportunity to grow and cultivate their own healthy food. Since then, the garden has allowed locals to celebrate their multicultural roots through food, customs, and conservation.

In May of 2020, Darcy Cook became the new district manager for the MRCD, and she is now in charge of overseeing the community garden. Since becoming district manager, she has established a Community Garden Working Group, created a plan to address necessary garden improvements, and helped raise funds to pursue the needs of the garden.

"Community gardens can have a significant impact on a community beyond providing a space for locals to grow nourishing food," said Cook. "They improve a neglected or unattractive area into a beautiful, productive green space. It develops a sense of community among people who might not otherwise have common interests or interact with each other and to work together to support a collective good."

Cook also believes that a community garden can be equally as impactful on the environment, she said, "Growing plants and trees removes carbon from the atmosphere and puts it in the soil, making soils more productive and helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. In addition, a community garden has been shown to increase property values in the area."

In 2021, Cook said she plans to make many improvements to the community garden with the help of the working group.

"This year I will work with the working group to complete tasks outlined in the plan which include: repairing broken plot walls, fixing irrigation leaks, addressing safety issues including leveling and paving the main pathways, building a compost structure and planting more fruit trees to add to the permaculture aspect," she said.

Cook said she is also looking forward to when COVID constraints are lifted, as there will be more educational workshops taking place at the community garden. These workshops will focus on regenerative farming, pollinator preservation, and other topics that will interest the community.

In the future, Cook hopes to see the garden continue to grow and help more people become interested in gardening and the importance of preserving the environment.

"I hope to ensure this garden fulfils its mission to support local residents who lack space to grow healthy food for their families," she said. "I'd love for the garden to support periodic community events; some ideas others have suggested including the workshops mentioned, an outdoor art show and a chili festival."

A community garden is about more than just gardening, it's about building a stronger bond within a community, learning about the environment, connecting with people over a common goal and teaching families about the benefits of growing their own, organic food.

"I think the most important takeaway is that a garden can be planted almost anywhere," said Cook. "It can be a relatively simple undertaking and the benefits are far greater than having a space to grow tomatoes."

Jackie Heyneman and Jean Dooley

Village News/Nancy Heins-Glaser photo

Jackie Heyneman and Jean Dooley evaluate the Fallbrook Land Conservancy and Save Our Forest's growing nursery at the Fallbrook Community Garden; these plants will be transplanted to the Los Jilgueros preserve or the Pico Promenade, and they will also be used by FUESD students in their environmental education class plantings.

The Fallbrook Community Garden offers various volunteering opportunities, to learn more about them, contact Darcy Cook at [email protected].

The Mission Resource Conservation District also has an ongoing USDA-funded training course focusing on agroecology for beginning and disadvantaged farmers. For more information visit

Jasmine and Stephanie OrtizWings of Change staffFallbrook Community GardenJackie Heyneman and Jean DooleyRoger Boddaert, and Rick RodriquezJennifer Ibaven, Roger Boddaert, Darcy Cook and Stephanie OrtizJackie Heyneman and Jean Dooley


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