On Saturday, Sept. 5, a group of artists, gardeners and volunteers spent the morning painting a mural on a large cargo container in a community garden at 1455 E. Third St. in San Bernardino. The group, Huerta del Valle, Garden of the Valley, held the event in partnership with Loma Linda University.

“Today is about community building around our community garden,” said artist and organizer Ana Cervantes.

The garden is called “Huerta del Valle,” or “Garden of the Valley,” said Cervantes. Loma Linda University Health provided the one-acre parcel to establish the community garden.

The symbols on the mural represented justice, unity, responsibility and change, said Cervantes.

The mountainous landscape of San Bernardino, honeybees, monarchs, the seal of San Bernardino, images of Native American motifs and native plants were all part of the tapestry that was being created to the sounds of Latin music.

“This mural is the launching of a fundraiser to create a community space for healing, wellness and community building,” said Cervantes.

The proceeds will help pay for local artists, materials and support for the garden.

Jorge Heredia organized the event and was happy with the progress of the garden.

“We just had water installed,” said Heredia. “With just having water here within a month, the community garden has completely transformed.”

Heredia said, “The mural is about solidarity and the community coming together around the idea of gardening.”

Local artist like Steven Bielak was on hand to lend his support to the mural. Bielak, a member of the San Bernardino Art Association, was pleased that art and gardening were promoted to the public.

“I think it’s a great event to get people to come out to show their support for the city of San Bernardino,” said Bielak.

“People get to see and learn about the garden, paint a mural and make history.”

Bielak liked the idea of a community garden being formed.

“I love it, I belong to a group called Urban Gardens in San Bernardino, and we’ve always wanted to have something like this.”

With “Urban Gardens,” people traded what they grew, said Bielak.

“Here, it’s already growing,” said Bielak. “Everyone that doesn’t have food can get some, or you can share food.”

Gardener Mercedes Carranza is ecstatic that the community garden is available for people to grow their own food.

“I love it! It’s my passion,” said Carranza. “I’ve learned how to grow organic food for my family.

The food that Carranza grows will feed four people in her home. Huerta del Valle provided some of the seeds for Carranza.

“You get to decide what ever you want to grow,” said Carranza.

Carranza’s garden will have tomatoes, bell peppers, chiles, eggplant, zucchini, beans, carrots and beets.

The premise of a community garden is something that Carranza has been seeking.

“I live in a condo,” said Carranza. “I belong to an association, and they won’t let me grow anything.”

“This is a great opportunity,” she said regarding Huerta del Valle and that “For me, it’s relaxing.”

“I’m growing my own food. It is healthy.

“You’ll find that the community in here is so friendly.”

If you are interested, the Huerta del Valle holds meetings at 5 p.m. on Thursdays.

For more information, go to huertadelvalle.org.

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