Community Garden plays a growing role in sustainable living

Ocean View Farms Community Garden is more than just a beautiful place. It is an example of a local community implementing sustainable living techniques. Located on a windy Mar Vista hillside, across from The Santa Monica Airport, is Ocean View Farms Community Garden (OVF). At first glance, one is surprised by the size of this tranquil hidden sanctuary. Four sections contain over five hundred individual gardens. Mailbox-lined pathways divide terraced plots. Golden poppies sprout like weeds. Each rectangular garden is a unique space and forms a distinct piece of the greater garden mosaic. There are gardens dedicated to vegetables, flowers, herbs, fruits, succulents, medicinal plants and native species. There is a children's garden that also serves as a monarch butterfly sanctuary. "Seeing the new crops come up is very rewarding," says Scott Feldman, OVF community gardener. "It is my therapy."

The cooperative volunteer efforts of the community garden members make it all possible. OVF is an example of local sustainability at work. Composting was originally implemented as a cost saving measure. Garden Master Ed Mosman said, "We used to have dumpsters here which were very expensive. We said if we start composting our weeds and our material, there is no need for it to go to the landfill." Ed laughs as he explains, "we got rid of all the dumpsters and, as you can see, everything that is grown here stays here. It goes right back into the garden again."

Eventually the composting program was expanded upon to include the composting of local stable waste. According to Mosman, OVF "receives fifteen tons of stable waste every other week." In addition to eliminating trash fees and shrinking landfills, the garden produces rich organic compost, which is available for garden member use. OVF has been serving the local community for over 34 years. But if you are in a hurry to start gardening, you may want to consider other options. The current waiting list for an OVF plot is two years.