ProduceJoaq-thumbThe City of Big Bear Lake hopes to have a community garden in place by next spring—prompted by an idea that was sprouted by the City Council’s Green Sustainability Committee, and spurred on by the enthusiasm of local gardening expert Robbie Bos. As presented before City Council last night (October 12), city staffer Cheri Haggerty outlined a formal policy for consideration and noted that the community garden would be a single piece of land, gardened collectively. Bos explained that the idea has taken root, so far, at Big Bear Elementary School, where community members, namely Reverend Jean Sweet and those of the Lighthouse Project, have repaired the greenhouse at the school site and are now growing vegetables and just-planted fruit trees in the Peace Garden. Bos also noted that, at present, there are 10 actively engaged individuals committed to contributing to a new garden which, per his vision, will be “a first-class, role-model garden for the community to share.” Some proposed sites for the project are on the Fox Farm lot adjacent to CVS, on the acreage behind the Bear Valley Electric station on Pennsylvania between Knickerbocker and Pine Knot, and a city-owned lot northeast of Big Bear Elementary on School Road. City Council members were pleased with the proposed yet preliminary plan–with Liz Harris saying, “I’m delighted with this”—though did ask that some elements be incorporated into the community garden policy. Mayor Rick Herrick asked that the garden not include trees, but an annual crop that could be distributed, as well as incorporating drip irrigation. Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn commented, “I had no idea there was this much involved in it”—which is why city staff will come back with a more formal policy for Council to consider, given logistics of maintenance, liability, conflict resolution, and fencing, to name a few. Yet, as noted in Haggerty’s staff report, “The focus should be on the community taking care of the garden and not city staff or another government agency. We would not want to see this project be laden with too many regulations. ‘Buy-in’ of the community is extremely important.”