Local Bay Area Youth Build Community Garden in Richmond

Eah Housing
RICHMOND - Crescent Park Apartments has opened a community garden thanks to a local Bay Area youth group. The garden will grow fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and will be maintained by residents. More than 40 families are participating in the community garden and have named it, "The Garden of Peace." Construction of the garden was completed through a collaborative effort between Crescent Park staff and residents, Rising Sun Energy Center's Youth Council program (Youth Council), and EAH Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing corporation.
 
"The community garden is a great addition because residents have a chance to grow their own gardens and learn about organic produce from community mentors. Rising Sun's Youth Council has provided a great outlet for green thumbs and beginners alike," said Dianna Ingle, EAH Housing VP of Real Estate Management.
 
Located adjacent to the Crescent Park Resource Center (CPRC), "The Garden of Peace" includes two compost bins, two water recycling containers, eight 10x4 garden beds and two small herb gardens. A new redwood picnic table was donated by members of the Richmond community to Crescent Park. The project has been partially funded through a recycling collection program coordinated by Youth Council and Crescent Park community members. The project will provide a sustainable source of fresh produce to a part of Richmond which is broadly recognized as a food desert.
 
"My favorite part [of Youth Council] is meeting other people that share the same kind of interest in giving back and helping the environment," said Youth Council member Maria Mendoza. "We need to give back and make it a better place for future generations."
 
Rising Sun's Youth Council represents a group of young Bay Area residents dedicated to learning about and combating environmental challenges through community service and direct action. During their year of service with the program, they learn about a variety of different community issues that affect Bay Area residents through trips to environmental and social justice non-profit organizations, coupled with professional development workshops. The culmination of the program is the implementation of a service project that is organized and executed by members of the Youth Council. The Crescent Park apartment's community garden was this year's service project.
 
In addition to the Youth Council's work on the community garden, Rising Sun provided no-cost energy and water conservation services to Crescent Park residents through its California Youth Energy Services program, helping them to save water and reduce utility costs in their homes.
 
The Crescent Park Resource Center also provides resource coordination services, afterschool programs, and a technology lounge with a dedicated instructor. EAH Housing acquired Crescent Park in 1994, and quickly moved to restore it to its former status as a valued community resource. It has since been awarded the HUD "Best Practices" Award for its Computer Learning Center, which provides access to technology to very low-income residents. In 2008, Crescent Park underwent a $70 million restoration that included a 908 megawatt solar installation.
 
About Rising Sun Energy Center
Rising Sun Energy Center is a 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered in Berkeley, California, operating throughout Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Joaquin, Solano, and Sonoma counties. Rising Sun is a workforce development organization focusing on training, employment, and green career pathways for both youth and adults. Rising Sun Energy Center's mission is to empower individuals to achieve environmental and economic sustainability for themselves and their communities. Rising Sun has been running programs in Richmond for over seven years. For information regarding Rising Sun Energy Center, please visit our website at http://www.risingsunenergy.org.
 
About EAH Housing
Nonprofit affordable housing developer, manager and advocate EAH Housing acquired Crescent Park in 1994 and redeveloped the 378 unit property that stretches over nearly 25 acres. Crescent Park is one of the largest solar powered affordable housing communities in the U.S, serving approximately 1800 residents. Established in 1968, EAH Housing is one of the oldest and most respected nonprofit developers and managers in the western United States. EAH Housing has developed more than 7,268 homes and manages 111 communities serving more than 20,000 working families, students and seniors in 50 municipalities throughout California and Hawaii. For more information about EAH Housing, please visit http://www.eahhousing.org