Waldorf kindergarten teacher Betty Peck and her friend, journalist Jackie Welch first learned about Alan Chadwick from their daughters who were studying at UC Santa Cruz. After delighting in his campus garden and attending several of his lectures, they invited the master gardener to advise and help them start a garden on a ten-acre property in the South Bay Area town of Saratoga. The Saratoga Community Garden thrived from 1972-1987 as an outdoor classroom serving 6000 children per year.
Saratoga Community garden, saratoga, california
Betty Peck insisted to Saratoga’s city fathers that they support a community garden, especially for the sake of the children. They heard her plea and rented 10 acres of former farmland belonging to the Oddfellows organization. The garden was filled with tomatoes and herbs for children to taste; “rows and rows of wheat” that they harvested for bread baking; enormous sunflowers; and of course, seedlings and compost. Paul Lee calls it “the most charming project that Alan did.” The demonstration garden thrived until 1987 when the Oddfellows reclaimed the land for affordable housing.
Story excerpts from oral history recorded by the Alan Chadwick Legacy Project February 2012.