From the back streets of Oak Park, to the neighborhoods of Del Paso Heights, Sacramento’s urban farming community is expanding. More people are taking the initiative to step out into communities to make a difference, and one of those people is Katie Valenzuela from Ubuntu Green, a non-profit organization committed to building healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities through education.

Recently, Ubuntu Green was featured as a “Healthy Community Success Story” by the Local Government Commission, which is funded by the California Endowment.

“Community engagement is central to the project,” says Ubuntu Green’s founder Charles L. Mason Jr. “Yes, it is about healthy food and the environment, but at the end of the day it is bringing together people to catalyze change in their communities. What better way to this than through growing food?”

Ubuntu Green continues to catalyze change by holding community development workshops every Wednesday from 3 to 6 pm behind the Home Cash Market on 14th and Roosevelt Avenue.

“It was not difficult to get into the space at all. Alchemist and Soil Born Farms were already there working with the owner on selling fresh produce and establishing a mini farm stand,” says Mason. ” The youth took charge and led the way towards cleaning up the site and working with our team to build the initial boxes.”

Ubuntu Green also supports youth engagement. Their Green Youth Leadership team sponsored by Ubuntu Green, “spends the summer and school year learning to be environmental leaders in the community by working to improve parks and recreational spaces”. The main target of the Leadership Team is to turn empty lots into sustainable gardens, and to install planter boxes in community member backyards. Interested youth are welcome to be a part of the Youth Leadership, those that want to apply should click here to complete an application for the G-Squad.

In early February, the G-squad earned a GABY Grant to commence the building of a shed at the garden behind the Home Cash Market. The shed build is expected to begin in late April, community involvement would be would be greatly appreciated by the Ubuntu Green staff.

It’s not easy to run an urban garden, and Ubuntu Green has faced many setbacks. The most recent and perhaps most devastating was the theft of all the garden tools from one of their garden sites. This unfortunate incident thwarted the entire winter planting season and starved the community of fresh vegetables. Hopefully, this new shed will prevent tools from being stolen in the future.