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Donation helps to grow community garden

CARLSBAD — There was much celebration recently at the city of Carlsbad’s Harold E. Smerdu Community Garden. Gardeners received a generous donation of $9,200 from Jenny Craig, Incorporated Sept. 17. 

This is their second year in a row to receive this amount from Jenny Craig.

For gardeners, this donation means everything because it has enabled them to support and enhance their garden, but most of all, provide healthy nutrition for families.

The 1-acre garden houses 52 plots.

“These funds have helped us to save the city of Carlsbad approximately $4,600 last fiscal year,” said Patrice Smerdu, community garden spokesperson. “More importantly, we’ve become a real asset to the residents of Carlsbad by being able to host events, educate children and create a beautiful space for all to enjoy.”

The check, Smerdu said, is made out to the Carlsbad Community Gardens Collaborative, a local nonprofit.

The two are community partners. The garden and the CCGC support each other while helping to cultivate new Carlsbad community gardens.

The CCGC also holds the Jenny Craig monies for the garden.

“The donation of $9,200 on behalf of Jenny Craig is to help the Collaborative continue their efforts to subsidize less fortunate gardeners with their fees, replace fences, host a citywide seed swap and open house, among many other community activities,” said Stephanie Hart, vice president of operations at Jenny Craig. “The Collaborative has a shared goal with Jenny Craig of emphasizing the importance of building in fruits and vegetables into your diet for proper nutrition and ideal health.”

Gardening supplies for children school tours were also part of the shopping list. It’s estimated that more than 600 students, parents and teachers visited the garden during the previous school year.

“What Jenny Craig finds particularly wonderful about the Carlsbad Community Garden is their commitment to give back,” Hart said. “We were impressed that many gardeners are donating their excess to their churches or local food banks, as well as plans to harvest several citrus trees in the common area for the North County Food Bank.”

This year’s donation, Smerdu pointed out, will go to the same activities it supported last year.

One important addition will have an emphasis on becoming more water-wise.

“Water is such a precious commodity and we want to do all we can to be as efficient as possible,” said Smerdu, adding that water is the highest single cost of the garden’s operations.

Plans for a more “water-wise” garden will include installing drip irrigation.

Hart shared that Jenny Craig’s parent company, Nestle, is committed toward sustainability. So, the news about the garden’s initiative to become more water conscious was great.

“We are really pleased that our donation today is also contributing to the reduction of water consumption through the installation of new drip systems and other water saving devices, in addition to subsidizing fees,” Hart said.

Jenny Craig also had goodie bags for the gardeners. Inside were hundreds of ladybugs, which will eat the bugs in the garden that potentially ruin the crops.

For Jenny Craig, it was a perfect choice for a natural pesticide solution.

Smerdu is extremely thankful that Jenny Craig’s donation provides its gardeners the ability to eat healthy produce while sharing it with others.

“Our garden is a place for people to meet, get to know one another, and help each other succeed,” she said.

“We love to garden and see the wonderful results of our labors.”

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