The City of Fresno, in partnership with Fresno Metro Ministries, would like to invite the media and public to join Mayor Ashley Swearengin, Council Member Mike Dages and PARCS Director Randy Cooper at Al Radka Neighborhood Park on Friday, August 21st, 2009 at 10:00am as the City launches its first community garden.

The Fresno Parks, After School, Recreation and Community Services Department (PARCS) recently completed construction of 90 garden plots at Al Radka Neighborhood Park in Southeast Fresno. PARCS designed and developed the 10’x20’ garden plots with ADA accessible pathways, installed water access to each plot, created an area for composting and added a storage shed for gardeners to share. Fresno Metro Ministry will manage the Al Radka Garden to help the City of Fresno provide residents the opportunity to grow fresh produce in an urban environment and to provide sustainability to many families during these hard economic times.

A Gardener’s Agreement will be signed by each participant gardener, assuring common responsibility for the garden site. Plots will be distributed on a first come/first served basis with priority given to residents in the immediate Al Radka area. Gardeners must pay a $2 registration fee as well as $3 per month to maintain access to their plot. Signups will begin Thursday, August 27th at Al Radka from 5:30 to 6:30pm. Additionally, residents may visit the garden to learn more and register on Saturday, August 29th from 10 to 11am. Initial garden contracts will allow gardening access from Sept. 1, 2009 – March 1, 2010, and for a year at a time thereafter. Gardeners will be invited to participate in monthly meetings coordinated by Fresno Metro Ministry, which will involve trainings on growing techniques, pest abatement and composting and a forum to support healthy urban gardening.

As Al Radka gets underway, the City will continue work on development of its second garden site to be opened early Fall at Peach & Butler on former United States Department of Agriculture property. For details on becoming a gardener at Al Radka Community Garden, residents may call Fresno Metro Ministry at 485-1416.