Local couple comes to the rescue

Offer by Linda and Darrell Voth to buy Grover Beach garden makes for a happy ending, but the story shouldn’t end there

newsroom@thetribunenews.comAugust 22, 2012 

A fiction writer couldn’t have plotted a better ending: To save a popular community garden in Grover Beach, Linda and Darrell Voth have agreed to purchase the city-owned property for $150,000.

Otherwise, the land would likely have been sold for future residential development.

The Voths plan to maintain the Brighton Avenue parcel as a community garden for their own benefit — they grow a variety of vegetables there — as well as for their fellow gardeners, who have been renting plots there for years.

Thanks to the Voths’ generosity, community gardeners are free to put down permanent roots, without fearing their crops will be plowed under.

Their action also puts an end to the city’s back-andforth debate over whether to sell the land — a controversy that seemed to end badly for the gardeners when the city ultimately decided to put the property on the market.

We understand the city’s motivation. In this era of declining revenue, government agencies must look to balance their budgets any way they can. But as we’ve said before, we believe selling off this important asset for short-term fiscal relief was a bad idea.

When it comes to recreation, community gardens are every bit as important as playgrounds, dog parks, ball fields and picnic grounds. Not only do they provide gardeners with a low-cost way to add fresh fruits and vegetables to their diets, they also offer excellent opportunities for exercise, fresh air and socializing.

Another plus: A well-tended garden can beautify a neighborhood, be a source of community pride and can inspire residents to turn their own yards into kitchen gardens.

By stepping in with their purchase offer, the Voths supplied a happy ending, but the story shouldn’t end there.

Grover Beach’s city staff has been looking for other locations where the city can provide community garden plots to replace the Brighton Avenue site.

We strongly urge the city to continue that effort so that it can expand the community gardening program — and cultivate some goodwill in the process.

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