The Story of the
Ceres Community Garden

Our vision has always included a connection between how and where food is grown and the meals that we offer clients to support their healing process. We began by creating relationships with many wonderful local farms and food producers so we would know where the food was coming from.

Then, in August 2011, Sara McCamant, a local gardener, approached Executive Director Cathryn Couch with the offer to start a Ceres Garden. Sara envisioned a place where teens would learn how to grow the food that they would then prepare in the Ceres Community Project kitchen – connecting soil to table in the service of building community health. The timing was challenging. Ceres was in the midst of remodeling and moving into a permanent home, but Cathryn said that if Sara could find a way to pull together the money and the land, Ceres would consider moving forward.

Within a week, a phone call from Diana Rich, Executive Director of the Sebastopol Community Center, brought forth a local donor – Terry and Joanne Dale – who were interested in funding a project with teens. At the same time, we discovered that O’Reilly Media was interested in having a community garden on their site. Several meetings later, we had the two most important “yeses” – the Dales were totally on board to help fund a teen run garden, and O’Reilly was willing to make the land and utilities available. The ball was rolling!

There was just one big problem. A closer look at the site showed that the topsoil had been scraped off to create a building pad. Sara began reaching out to other gardeners. The first several suggested she abandon the site and look elsewhere. Then she talked to long-time gardener and mentor Wendy Krupnik, who shared a vital piece of wisdom. Rather than abandoning the site, Wendy suggested that part of our work was healing the soil. Ceres Community Project is about building community health and, as gardeners, we know that the health of the community starts with the health of the soil.

We began that healing process just three months after the first conversation between Sara and Cathryn. The soil was tilled and cover crop was sown. Over the winter, with a small group of volunteers and loads of donated Sonoma Compost, the garden started to take shape. As each need appeared, someone stepped forward to donate or help – wood from Sturgeon’s Mill for the raised beds, a teen who wanted to build the shed, woodchips, plants, seeds, and an amazing group of people. Ceres’ teens began working regular shifts in March, and by June 2012 the garden looked like the pictures you see here, and we were regularly harvesting produce for the kitchen.

Sara has always believed that there is a special magic that happens when a gardens is in service to the larger community. The Ceres Community Garden not only radiates this special magic, it also thrives from the abundant love and energy being poured into it each day. Despite the very poor soil we started with, our first harvests have been impressive – large heads of garlic, beautiful, vibrant beets, and of course boxes of kale!




If you are an adult and would like to get involved in the garden:

• Consider becoming a garden mentor: take a weekly shift working with the teens in the garden,

• Be a compost angel and bring the compost from the kitchen to the garden, or

• Offer to share an interesting garden project with the teens.

Attend a monthly Volunteer Orientation to get more information.

Donations of plants, seed, compost, woodchips, and tools are always welcome.
Email Garden Coordinator
   Sara McCamant
   [email protected]

Financial donations to support the garden can be made by clicking here, or send a check to Ceres Garden, 7351 Bodega Ave. Sebastopol, CA 95472.

Thank You

The following individuals, foundations and businesses have been instrumental in supporting the garden.

Special thanks to

O’Reilly Media

for the ongoing use of the
garden plot and water

and to

Joanne & Terry Dale

for providing our “seed” funding
to get the garden growing

Ceres Community Garden Donors

Abacot Fund

of Community Foundation Sonoma County

Dougherty Family Fund

of Community Foundation Sonoma County

Enviro Kidz -
Nature’s Path
Russian River Rotary Club
Sebastopol Rotary Club
Sebastopol Sunrise Rotary Club
Semilla Fund

of Community Foundation Sonoma County

Ceres Community Garden
Inkind Donors

Atlas Tree Servic
Harmony Farm Supply
Heritage Salvage
Horizon Irrigation
Ken Brandt (The Gentleman Farmer)
Lowe’s Cotati
Sebastopol Hardware
Sonoma Compost
Sturgeon’s Mills