Whether praised by the president or an anonymous gardener, gardens have been lauded as symbols of hope for a better, more cooperative, and more beautiful, healthy world.”

-Laura J Lawson, “City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America,” 2005





“The mission of the San Diego Community Garden Network is to help create, support and grow community gardens that enrich their neighborhoods by enhancing food security, promoting a sustainable environment and fostering community based educational opportunities and community building.

The Network, a 501c3, subscribes to the American Community Garden Association’s Vision “that community gardening is a resource used to build community, foster social and economic justice, eliminate hunger, empower communities, break down racial, ethnic [and generational] barriers, provide adequate health and nutrition, reduce crime, improve housing, promote and enhance education, and otherwise create sustainable communities”. The Network also envisions community gardens as partners in creating more green spaces in our cities and engaging in environmental stewardship.

The goals of the Network are to:

  1. Provide support services, technical expertise and educational programs to assist in the development of new community gardens that share the Network’s values and are viewed as an asset by their surrounding communities.
  2. Foster the development of support links within the garden community and with community partners, including the business community, nonprofits, educational institutions, health providers, community leaders, government and the general public.
  3. Promote the creation of a community identity for San Diego community gardens and increase public awareness of the contribution gardens make to their neighborhoods through the use of the website,  social media, events and educational programs.
  4. Support environmentally and people friendly garden practices and the expansion of green spaces in our cities.

Where we are today:

Two years in the making, the Network became a 501c3 nonprofit corporation in September 2011.  The Network is currently providing technical assistance to community garden startups around the county. In addition to providing resources and information, this website also serves to map and provide registration information about the variety of unique community gardens in San Diego County. New Gardens we have worked with include.  In the past 2 years we have collaborated or provided consultation to the City of La Mesa, City of Chula Vista, the Serra Mesa Community Garden, Circle Community Garden, SDSU College Area Garden, Town and Country Apartments, Mt. Hope Community Garden, Avocado Court Community Garden, Bayside Community Garden, Cuyamaca College Garden, Edgemoor Hospital Community Garden, TLC Community Garden, El Cajon CDC, the International Rescue Committee, La Gracia y Paz Community Garden project, the San Diego Master Gardeners and the UCSD Green Steam Communities project.

In May 2012 we held a Celebration of Community Gardens at The TLC Giving Garden, jointly  hosted by the Tierrasanta Lutheran Church and the Network.  Almost 300 people enjoyed a full day of workshops,  garden tours, networking, music, garden related vendors and children’s activities.

This March the Network provided 200 fruit  trees to local community, school and educational gardens.  This event was possible due to the support of the Dave Wilson Nursery and the San Diego California Rare Fruit Growers.

Visit us on Facebook , and follow our Tumblr where you can stay up-to-date on community garden news, learn about local events, and post comments and pictures of your own gardening exploits!

Who we are:

SDCGN Board of Directors

Emily Dwyer

Board Treasurer & Project Planning and Development Advisor

An urban planner by trade, Emily has been thinking about food planning issues ever since she started her first vegetable garden as a teenager. Her passion for urban agriculture and activated public spaces remained constant throughout her studies and her professional planning work. With a solid background in city planning, active transportation planning, food planning, and community organizing, Emily has been most satisfied when she directly implemented the plans and policies she helped create. Emily has earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design Urban Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master of Planning from the University of Southern California. Most recently, she completed Wild Willow Farm School’s Basics of Small-Scale Sustainable Farming course.

Judith Jacoby

Executive Director and CEO

Judith is the founder and executive director of the San Diego Community Garden Network. She has been a member of the San Diego Master Gardener Association 2003 where she has spent most of her time working with school and community gardens.  In 2010 she founded the San Diego Community Garden Network where she has married her long time interests in public health, the environment, public service, and horticulture.  From 2010 to 2012 she worked for the City of La Mesa as their Community Garden Consultant.  A retired commander after a career in the US the Air Force and the Public Health Service, she worked as an environmental health officer, an occupational health consultant, and a family nurse practitioner and a mental health nurse. In the following years she worked with at risk youth, attended the Ornamental Horticulture program at Cuyamaca College, and worked for Physician Partners as a project manager, introducing electronic prescribing in an outpatient medicine setting.

Robert Lecusay

Board Secretary & Education and Research Advisor

Robert is a father, husband, educator, researcher, and amateur gardener. He received his Ph.D from the interdisciplinary program in communication and cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego where he studied the design of science learning activities in informal, multi-media environments. As a member of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition he has co-created and studied a variety of innovative learning activities. These activities have included creating Playworlds in a K-1 classroom, running an after-school physics telementoring program, and teaching a combined high school-college project-based urban agriculture course. At Green STEAM Communities he is responsible for developing, teaching, and assessing the Extension-Practicum courses, as well as for building and maintenance of STEAM installations. Robert has been working with the Network for the last year.

George Mercer

Landscape Architect, New Garden Advisor and Local Government Liaison

George has been working with the Network for the last two years assisting in developing gardens and helping them to create a landscape plan for the garden that reflects the vision gardener want to create.  He has prepared plans for at least eight gardens over the last two years.  The most recently completed garden is the Intergenerational Garden at Cuyamaca Garden and the Chula Vista Mosaic Garden is currently under construction.  Several others are in the visioning stage. He is on the governing board for the San Carlos Community Garden.   In his professional career George has worked on a wide variety of projects including, schools, environmental projects, residential and commercial design.

Ivan Rosero

New Project Development and Technology Advisor

Researcher at UC San Diego’s Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, and Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Communication, where he is enrolled in the Science Studies and Cognitive Science programs.

Studies and helps to implement collaborative community partnerships that focus on science learning through urban agriculture, do-it-yourself digital sensor informatics, and environmental stewardship projects.  With a degree in computer science and over six years of experience in the IT industry, he concentrates on integrating digital technology and informal science learning in everyday settings.

Roy Wilburn

Agricultural and Garden Education Advisor

In 2010 Roy Wilburn was hired as Sunshine Care’s Director of Horticulture following twenty years of experience as a commercial farmer.  You can usually find him in one of the five organic gardens, producing high quality organic fruits and vegetables for the residents and those in need in the Poway area. Roy’s other responsibilities include maintaining Sunshine Care’s beautiful greenhouse, fruit tree orchards, Memorial Rose Garden and the landscaping of its 32-acre facility. As a Master Composter, Roy handles the compost and vermiculture programs. Twice a month, he is with local home-schooled children and residents, directing the Sunshine Care Garden Club’s “Seed to Table” program.  He generously gives his time to many school and community garden projects and was invaluable in the establishment of the Backyard Produce Project located on the grounds of Sunshine Care that provides fresh fruit and vegetables to low income local residents in need of supplemental food.

He has broad experience in all aspects of agriculture that he is more than willing to share.

SDCGN Advisory Board

Diane Moss, People’s Produce Project

Diane is a former board member of SDCGN and is long time advocate for place-based community change. As such she chooses to live, work and organize in Southeastern San Diego and Compton, California.  Diane has organized the People’s Produce Project, an initiative of Project New Village using food to re-energize and re-connect residents to their neighborhoods; explore opportunities to address food security; and honor a legacy of environmental stewardship. This initiative is mobilizing residents and other stakeholders, to create, collaborate and coordinate efforts to grow and distribute fresh fruits and vegetables in southeastern San Diego. The ultimate goal is to create and maintain a community food system. For the past 25 years, Moss has been the Executive Director for Children Having Children, Inc., a youth development organization with a focus on teen pregnancy prevention.  Concurrently she has been in the leadership of Project New Village, a community-based collaboration of organizations and individuals working together to promote healthier living in southeastern San Diego.

Dominick Fiume, Slow Food USA, Regional Governor for Southern California

Dominick has been a member of Slow Food since 2003 and in 2008 helped found the Urban San Diego chapter after being on the board of the San Diego chapter for 2 years. He served as the founding Co-Leader of the Slow Food Urban San Diego chapter for two years and also served as chair of the communications committee.  Dominick is a real estate broker, a University of California Certified Master Gardener and makes cheese, raises chickens and farms in his spare time.

Jay Lemke, Senior Research Scientist and adjunct Professor of Communication at the University of California, San Diego, in the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition.

He was previously Professor at the University of Michigan, working in the Ph.D. programs in Science Education, Learning Technologies, and Literacy Language and Culture, and Professor and founding Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education at the City University of New York. His research interests span all these fields and work in social theory and social semiotics, discourse analysis, video analysis, multimedia studies, games research, and most recently Design Research and the role of feeling in making meaning.

Lisa Lipsey, Community Relations Manager & Intergenerational Liason, Sunshine Care

Lisa is a graduate of California State University San Marcos. She started her career in community relations and nonprofit management at a hospice housing program. She then headed to PAWS San Diego, helping low-income seniors to keep their pets. She has been with Sunshine Care since 2007. Her passion has always been the well-being of seniors, kids and animals. Lisa enjoys live theatre, visiting national parks and going to the zoo. She co-founded the North County Intergenerational Council and serves on the Steering Committee for the North County Community Action Network and on the Live Well, San Diego! Leadership Team.

Mike Cole,  University Professor Emeritus in Communication and Psychology at the University of California, San Diego.

He is also the Director of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition. Cole’s work focuses on the elaboration of a mediational theory of mind. He has conducted cross-cultural research on cognitive development, especially as it relates to the role of literacy and schooling. His recent research has been devoted to a longitudinal study of individual and organizational change within educational activities specially designed for afterschool hours. These systems link universities and local communities and allow a study of the dynamics of appropriation and use of new technologies and cultural-historical approaches to human development. According to Cole’s methodology, mind is created and must be studied in communication.

Paul Gray, Golden Hill Community Garden

Paul grew up in Southeast Asia and Japan and moved to California in 1974.  He attended Mira Costa College in Oceanside and Palomar College in San Marcos with a focus on graphic arts and ornamental horticulture. Paul owns and operates The Plant Wiz, an interior and exterior landscape design and maintenance company, servicing many local corporate offices and high-end residential accounts.  His passion is gardening and community awareness. Paul is a long time member of the Golden Hill Community Garden where he has served as both Secretary and Chair and has sat on a number of committees.

SDCGN Education and Research Associates

Susan Chambers

Susan graduated from UCSD with degrees in Human Development and Language and Cognition. Her interest in how individuals learn as well as a desire to reform food policy in urban settings has led her to pursue ventures through SDCGN in designing(or implementing? or both?) highly interactive informal curriculum centered around urban agriculture and food sustainability. As a social networking coordinator(?) within SDCGN, Susan is also actively involved in disseminating information about community gardens as well as helping to connect individuals to resources that serve to strengthen their communities.

Abigail Jones

Abbey joined SDCGN the fall after graduating from UCSD with bachelors in Linguistics and International Studies-Sociology. Learning how to make urban agriculture environmentally sound, she is especially interested in creating youth access to community gardens with the help of multigenerational community collaborators and educational institutions. While teaching formally in other contexts, Abbey increasingly enjoys cultivating successful informal learning ecologies outside the confines of four walls where people of all ages can come together to grow a thriving community next to thriving gardens.

Jared Markowitz

Jared is a recent graduate from the University of California, San Diego where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Communication along with a minor in Philosophy. He has several years of experience working with children in after-school programs at the YMCA and Boy’s and Girls Club. His focus is on teaching in informal settings through gardens because they are an excellent space for kids to learn and develop skills that will help them grow and do better in school in a fun and exciting way. H also focuses on technology and how it can be used to improve gardening while also providing people with important 21st century computer skills. He has been involved with the San Diego Community Garden Network for almost a year and is planning on being with the company for even more years!

SDCGN Logo by Mylena Metheny

Get involved:

Whether you are currently a community gardener, would like to become one, or are a friend of community gardens it is your participation and support that will create a vibrant community garden movement in San Diego. Volunteer opportunities abound. The Network needs people with experience in all of the following: gardening, the web, fundraising, writing skills, teaching, advocacy, carpentry,  irrigation, composting, cooking, event planning and research. Even if you are just learning a new skill, getting involved will help you learn through hands-on experience.

Contact us at The Network@SDCGN.org 

3 Responses to About SDCGN

  1. Patricia "Trish" Stuart says:

    There is talk of forming community gardens in Jacumba and in Boulevard, (in the far eastern part of the county). I have been asked to help and would love all the information you might have. It seems a monumental task–they have the land in Jacumba but not watering or any basics in place.
    Thanks in advance.
    A dedicated volunteer

    • admin says:

      Hi Pat “Trish”, Keep your eye on the website. I will be posting a number of excellent resources in the coming weeks as I get the hang of this. There will also be some trainings at regional garden centers in the coming months that you might be able to attend.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Paul, I will be in contact this week or next to set up a guided tour of possible and existing (Magnolia School) community garden sites in El Cajon and Santee with you as the principal tour guide. The are folks from the county and the Community Development Corp of El Cajon that want to come along.