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We are a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational nonprofit that has sprouted and taken root in Livermore, California. The Garden of Grace, our principle teaching garden, is located in Livermore on land owned and provided for our use by Asbury United Methodist Church.
In 2019, Fertile Groundworks harvested over 23,000 pounds to share with our neighbors in need. Working with local community kitchens and food pantries, we operate year-round to provide a continuous stream of produce to help feed the hungry in the Tri-Valley region.
Also in 2019, Fertile GroundWorks educated over 1,900 volunteers in the valuable skill of organic gardening. Our volunteers learn sustainable food production techniques such as such as bio-intensive gardening, small-scale organic orchardry, soil fertility, composting and water conservation.
We also provide education and support to local schools, corporations and other community groups to help them create and sustainably operate their own gardens.
to our neighbors in need in 2021
trained in sustainable food techniques in 2021
to engage the local community since 2019
for those in need since 2012
The Alameda County Master Gardener Program works to serve the diverse communities within Alameda County. Master Gardeners are people of all ages from all walks of life who want to give back to their communities. We volunteer our time to help people learn about gardening. The Garden of Grace is an approved project for Master Gardeners to earn credit.
Many of the seeds grown by the garden were donated by Renee’s Garden Seeds. Their assistance is gratefully acknowledged. The garden has grown Renee’s varieties of carrot, squash, lettuce, chard, radish, and tomato, and all have performed very well, in many cases exceeding varieties sold by other companies.
Republic Services donated 50 cubic yards of organic compost to the garden, which is being used to amend soil in the beds. This compost will increase the fertility of the soil, allowing for higher-yielding crops and improved soil structure. This compost is also being used as a nutrient-rich layer between hard, untilled soil and wood chips to soften and improve the soil for future cropping.
Springing from the seed of an idea in June 2010, the Garden of Grace began as a notion to develop unused acreage to serve the hungry in Livermore. A core group of visionary volunteers linked up with Open Heart Kitchen, a nonprofit that has served meals at Asbury UMC weekly since 1995. Preparation and planting in the Garden of Grace began later that year.
Bruce Campbell, an Alameda Master Gardener, was a driving force behind the project, as was fellow Master Gardener Mark Brunell. Together with key volunteers from Asbury, the Master Gardening community and local volunteers, they got Fertile GroundWorks running.
By autumn 2010, the first crops were being harvested and the rotation was up and running. In 2011, we delivered more than 4,000 pounds of organically grown produce to feed the poor and homeless. By 2018, Fertile Groundworks trained over 1,200 volunteers in sustainable food production techniques and harvested over 19,000 pounds of food.
In 2018, lifelong biologist and gardener Brenda Kusler became Executive Director upon Bruce Campbell’s retirement. Under her care, Fertile GroundWorks is continuing to expand its production and outreach within the community.
I am an enthusiastic student of all things gardening. Seed germination and stuff becoming compost are magic. Growing plants is so familiar and commonplace yet so complex and variable. Each year, the Fertile Groundworks garden tells a new and unique story of the seasons. We – staff, volunteers, friends – listen and learn.
Of course there are twists and turns, mistakes and successes, and so far bountiful endings too. And what could be better than a bountiful harvest? It is sharing our good fortune with the community.
Fertile Groundworks is a beautiful endeavor worth every effort to make flourish.
As a lifelong biologist and gardener, volunteering with Fertile GroundWorks allows me to pursue the central aspects of my being. I get to play in the soil, watch things grow, and learn new things every day, all while helping my fellow human beings. I truly believe Fertile GroundWorks is one of the most important things I do with my life.
I am passionate about educating and inspiring the next generation.
I love witnessing kids actively participate in growing their own food from seed to harvest and seeing that lasting impression it has on them. It allows them to fully appreciate where their food comes from and shows them how to embrace a no food waste philosophy.
When our children see for themselves that tomatoes grow on vines, carrots grow in the ground, and broccoli does not grow in supermarkets, what a wonderful lesson to learn from a young age! I hope to see more junior gardeners in our future!
When I first learned about carbon sequestration and the ability to care for our planet by caring for the soil, I immediately began searching for a farm where I could learn more. I was shocked to find a teaching garden just a few blocks from my home!
I began volunteering at Fertile GroundWorks with my toddler in 2016, and within weeks was handed the keys to the abandoned garden at Jackson Avenue Elementary School. It has been a wild ride of learning and growing, community and collaboration ever since! To have such an open, generous community hub in our backyard is truly a gift, and one I’m grateful to be a part of.
As a long time and active member of Asbury United Methodist Church, it has brought me so much joy to see Fertile Groundworks become the remarkable ”farm” on what was unused land. I am not much of a farmer, more of an infrastructure guy. If it involves water lines, electricity or buildings, I am ready to help!
With the frightening cost of housing and the grinding economic reality faced by many of our fellow citizens of the Tri-Valley, it is exciting to be part of an organization that is dedicated to providing free, healthy food. I look forward to playing a useful part of this organization.
I have been employed by Livermore Area Recreation and Park District since 2003. I am proud of the work that the district does on behalf of our community and I am looking forward to continuing to help and to serve our community through working with Fertile GroundWorks.