two people in a garden

This Community Garden Helps Farmworkers Feed Themselves. Now It’s Facing Eviction.

The members of Tierras Milperas in Watsonville, Calif. are struggling to maintain access to their garden. Similar stories are unfolding across the country.

May 18, 2023 | Source: Civil Eats | by Twilight Greenaway

On a recent weekday, Hugo Sanchez Nava and Augustin Contreras were hustling to get the word out about the Watsonville, California, community garden they were trying to protect. When they’re not working in the fields, the farmworkers have been spending time corresponding with other food and land access advocates, speaking to reporters, and soliciting signatures for a petition to save the garden.

Nava and Contreras are the community coordinator and an elder advisor with Tierras Milperas, a community garden collective group that operates seven gardens in this and other Central Coast farming communities. The garden in question is the largest; it occupies 1 acre of land on the larger grounds of the All Saints-Cristo Rey Episcopal Church and serves 51 immigrant farmworker families. In late April, its members had been served a two-week lease termination notice, and although the end date had come and gone, Tierras Milperas members haven’t stopped gardening.