It’s hard not to feel the magic of Olivewood Gardens after stepping onto their historic, eight-acre property in National City, which pairs growing fresh local food with providing educational programs to empower students and families from diverse backgrounds to be healthy and active.
On Saturday, over 40 SDG&E employees, friends and family got to work some magic themselves alongside Olivewood staff, spending their morning on various projects throughout the gardens to support Olivewood’s expansion after recently acquiring an adjacent piece of land.
Team SDG&E was first in line to help make the property garden ready! Volunteers helped with building a fence around the perimeter of the property, weeding, spreading mulch, and other beautification projects. The additional space will grow Olivewood’s capacity to connect students and families to the natural environment through food, education and community engagement.
Fun fact: Fence lumber was donated by Lumbercycle, a local nonprofit that mills fallen trees and creates new raw materials to be used in the community. This experimental project is using eucalyptus, a wood not typically used in fencing, but trees that are plentiful in this region.
Team SDG&E volunteers and Olivewood staff were joined by National City Vice Mayor Mona Rios and Healthy Day Partners CEO/President, Mim Michelove.
“I have personally attended [Olivewood’s] Cooking for Salud! TM Kitchenista’s program, and I value Olivewood Garden’s vision to empower students and families in our diverse community to think healthy through food, education, and community engagement,” said Rios. “It was impressive to see team SDG&E employees so deeply invested in my community and to share our goal of making National City a better place. SDG&E employees’ commitment is heartfelt and life changing.”
Cooking for Salud!TM is a bilingual English and Spanish parent nutrition education, behavior modification program designed to teach parents how to make healthy changes at home that will improve their families’ short and long-term health.
In a community that struggles with obesity and diabetes, due in part to lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, Olivewood fills the gap by providing garden and nutrition education to thousands of children and adults in National City and surrounding communities.
Through the Environmental All-Stars program, SDG&E employees regularly volunteer their time for a variety of projects in the community, ranging from building school gardens and installing solar panels for low-income residents to restoring habitats for endangered species.
In 2020, Team SDG&E has a full calendar of projects scheduled, including partnerships with San Diego Audubon Society, Habitat for Humanity, Produce Good, GRID Alternatives, I Love A Clean San Diego, and many more.