Novato Community Garden Project: Growing a Healthy Community from the Ground Up!
(415) 897-2302

Novato Live Well Network
P.O. Box 1647
Novato, CA 94948-1647

David Selzer
Dietrich Stroeh
Donna West
Charlotte Torgovitsky
Veronica Valero
Vicky Meblin

Clark Blasdell
Nancy Boyce, RN, MA
Nancy Niche
Nichole Marelich
Steve Quirt
Fernando Agudelo-Silva, Ph.D.
Miguel Villarreal
Rita Widergren




We have Launched a new website! Visit us at:

Announcement: January 23, 2013
Grown In Novato (GRIN) Workshop Series
To Benefit the Novato Community Garden

Download Registration form at:
Do you remember how a tomato picked freshly from the vine tastes? How about sweet corn, cucumbers, green beans, onions, lettuces and herbs? A new program of classes for those who want to experience the wonderful flavor of home grown food is being held once a month in Novato, from February to October, 2013.  If it’s been a while, or you just want to learn how to get more from your garden, please join us for fun and interactive classes on growing your own vegetables successfully in 2013. Proceeds from the fees will be used to help build the Novato Community Garden at O’Hair Park off of Novato Blvd.

  • All classes will be held outdoors at Green Point Nursery, 275 Olive Avenue, in Novato (at the corner of Atherton and Olive Avenues).
  • Affordable fees are on a sliding scale: from $15 to $25 per adults and $5 to $10 per child for each class.
  • Vegetable and native plant starts will be for sale after each class.
  • Pre-registration is required – class size is limited to 12 adults and 12 children.
  • The classes are family friendly. Children (six and older) are welcome to join their parents.  There will also be separate gardening activities for kids to get into plants and gardening on their own level.

The first class will be held on Saturday, February 23 from 10:00 AM- 12:00 noon, and will cover building a raised bed and gardening on a grid layout. To reserve your space, download registration at: or call Veronica Valero at (415) 897-2302. For more information on the workshops, contact Charlotte Torgovitsky at (415) 892-9148.

Building Raised Beds & Learn How to Garden On a Grid Layout

When: Saturday, February 23, 2013
(In case of heavy rain – the class will be held the following Saturday, March 2)
 Time:   10AM – 12 Noon
 Location:  Green Point Nursery, 275 Olive Avenue, Novato
GOOGLE MAP at the corner of Atherton & Olive Avenues
 Cost:   Sliding Scale: $15-$25 per Adult, $5-10 per Child
ABOUT WORKSHOP: Raised beds make it easy to grow an abundance of beautiful organic vegetables in relatively small spaces. Learn all about the best techniques and materials for building raised beds, and how to build in protection from various garden pests. Pros and cons of different sizes, shapes and depths will be discussed, as well as other useful types of containers for raising food crops in a home garden. You will also learn some basic tips on good soil management practices, and how to set up a ‘grid garden’ for the kids. Each participant takes home a free 4” plant suitable for the veggie garden. Detailed handouts on different bed designs will be available.

To see other workshops, visit:

City Council Approved the Novato Community Garden Project:
With over six years of hard work by a core group of Novato Live Well Network volunteers, on June 12, 2012 the Novato Community Garden Project finally met all the City of Novato requirements and received a unanimous approval of their plan. This includes a 25 year lease of City property at O’Hair Park off of Novato Boulevard, adjacent to the Dogbone Meadow Park. (Read more via Novato Patch)

We want to give a special “Thank You” to Andrew Schwartz, of Sommers & Schwartz LLP in San Francisco for donating his time, expertise, and legal assistance in our lease negotiations with the City of Novato. This was a $10,000 contribution!

Since June, we’ve been tending to the paperwork and will be signing the lease in the next couple of weeks. Once the paperwork is complete, we can focus our time and energy in raising funds for the garden.

We need and estimated $135,000 to begin the construction of the left-hand turning lane, parking and the fencing.  Then we’ll need an estimated $70,000 for the well, water tower and irrigation system. Our goal is to raise $250,000 to cover all anticipated expenses to begin planting in the garden.

We will be outreaching to individuals, local businesses and organizations for monetary donations. We also will be applying for grants. We are also looking for volunteers experienced in fundraising and event planning. If you can help, please contact Veronica Valero at 415-897-2302 or download our donation form.

Novato Patch Article (1/3/2012):  
Garden Project Starts By Growing a Crop of Financial Backers
By Karen Pavone
There is a Chinese proverb that is as true today as when it was first said: "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

As we pull together in the spirit of community this holiday season, filling our grocery carts with bags of food for our families and also for those families in our midst who are less fortunate, we should take a few moments to consider a more long-range view of feeding ourselves in the future.

We all have enough "stuff" -- more than enough in most cases. We are blessed to live in one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, surrounded by some of the most beautiful open space in the state. In fact, Novato is a town whose historic roots are firmly planted in farming. Several multi-generational family farm properties can still be found amid the pastoral rolling hills that spread from our city. With all this as our inspiration, why not consider giving the gift of a sustainable community garden to ourselves and future generations who will call Novato their home.

Currently the Novato Community Garden, a project six years in the making by the Novato Live Well Network, is looking for funding to complete its final stages. Despite many obstacles along the way, the project's board of dedicated volunteers has continued to persevere and find solutions that have kept the garden moving forward. READ FULL ARTICLE...


SEE THE SITE DESIGN APPROVED: Final Plans to be uploaded soon

WHY A COMMUNITY GARDEN? A recent report from UC Cooperative Extension: Marin County Community Garden Needs Assessment, sums it up by stating, "community gardens have a multiplier effect in relation to improved social, environmental, cultural, nutritional, and financial components of neighborhoods and their residents." Click here to read the report.

Also see our list of benefits of having a Novato Community Garden

September 21, 2011 Update: The Novato Community Garden Committee has completed Phase One of the project. Working with the City of Novato, and with support of our City Council, a suitable garden site has been identified and reserved at O'Hair Park, the site design approved, a well has been drilled with services generously donated by Clear Heart Drilling, and final negotiations for a long-term lease are underway.

NEXT STEPS-PHASE TWO: We need your community spirit: your talents, support and services. Please join in our efforts to raise the funds necessary to complete Phase Two of this project. The City is ready to lease us the land, but at a cost of $5,000 to write the lease, another $2,500 for building permits, and $2,500 is needed for required insurance. To get the garden up and running, $200,000 to $250,000 is needed to build an access road, parking area, garden pathways, water system, and a perimeter fence. Other funds will be also be needed for Phase Three: sheds, nursery, gathering place, etc.

Will 2011 be the year? Only with your help. After over SIX years of hard work, overcoming many obstacles, we are almost there -- but we need the help of the community to build the garden. Click here to donate. Or, call 415-897-2302.

A community garden is a place where people who have no access to sun-drenched soil, can plant, grow, nurture, and harvest organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. A community garden is also a place where the community spirit can grow. It's a place where a diverse group of people can share, learn, teach, encourage and connect with each other and the land. 

We are fortunate to live in Marin County, surrounded by open-space, Mediterranean-like weather, and fertile soil where we can grow our own food or purchase it from local farmers. Even with our abundance, nearly half of our residents in Novato live in multi-unit dwellings without land to garden. In addition, there are a growing number of residents who cannot afford to buy fresh produce to feed themselves or their families. A shrinking economy and rising unemployment are putting the squeeze on many of us. We urgently need to find new ways to access healthy and affordable produce.

WHERE IS THE SITE? : We have a site at O'Hair Park the City of Novato is willing to lease to us. The site is located on Novato Blvd, past San Marin High School on the west side of the Dog Bone Meadow Park. We need to raise at least $150,000 to build and open the garden. Before we can open the garden we need the entry-way and parking constructed, fencing put up, and the water tower and water system installed. We are asking for “seed” money to help build the garden. Your contributions will help us: (1) build over 60 plots, a mini-farm and a demonstration garden, (2) provide educational workshops open to the public on garden basics, water conservation, composting, and organic gardening principles; and (3) contribute to the health and quality of life in our community. See the Vision.

UPDATE-DECEMBER 13, 2010: The City of Novato staff need to approve the recent documents we submitted mid-November. These include: the archeological report; the site plan with the site design changes requested by Design Review Committee at the Aug. 2, 2010 meeting; and the variance application and fee of $2,100 required for the approved variances (see info below). We are waiting to hear about next steps before we can move to writing up a lease agreement with the City and then having it approved by the City of Novato Council.

AUGUST 8, 2010 UPDATE: Thumbs Up for Community Garden in Novato!
On August, 4, 2010, we presented our Novato Community Garden site design to the City of Novato Design Review Committee (DRC). They loved our project! Thank you all who wrote letters of support, attended the meeting, and spoke on behalf of the project. Special thanks to Don Foster, our Site Development Manger, who designed the site, gave a great presentation, and has been handling all the details in moving this project through the City of Novato departments. He has contributed over a thousand hours of volunteer time and we are indebted to him: Here are the main points discussed at the DRC Workshop:

  1. The DRC recommended a few modifications on the Pergola (the future carport). There was also discussion on types of alternative materials to be used in place of gravel on the lower half of the parking lot that would better accommodate those with physical disabilities.
  2. The DRC also recommended that any future design alterations be reviewed by the City of Novato Zoning Administrator, as an alternative to bringing the project back to the Design Review Committee for final approval. This should save us money and speed up the project. But, we still need to bring the project before the City Council, and this costs money.
  3. Also, because there is no construction classification in the City of Novato’s Planning Department to accommodate such agricultural projects as ours, our project had to be reviewed as a “Residential/Commercial” project. This required that we have such things as gutters in the parking lot, night lighting, a 14-foot vertical clearance for the carport, among other things totally inappropriate for this project. So, we requested a variance on the project. The DRC agreed with our request and recommended to City Staff  to treat the project design as “rural & organic” in nature rather than an “urban” design as is a current requirement of standard parking lots. Although this will save us money on the construction of the project, unfortunately, the variance application that we have to submit costs about $2,000.

This is a significant step forward. There is more work to be done, especially raising funds to pay for these fee and future fees, as well as the project itself: an estimated cost of $175,000. We will update you in the coming weeks regarding “next steps” and opportunities to help us move this forward.

Questions about the Site: Diet Stroeh: (415) 883-9850
Volunteer Opportunities: David Selzer (415) 342-5922
Sponsorship Other Questions: Veronica Valero: (415) 897-2302

READ AN OVERVIEW OF THE PLAN that was submitted to the City of Novato. Please note, in the second paragraph it inadvertently stated that Novato Live Well Network was instrumental in bringing Whole Foods and Trader Joe's in town. The confusion resulted in the many hats Veronica Valero wears, one being that she was the founder of the Novato Healthy Food Coalition that did bring these stores to Novato. Our apologies for the confusion. To learn more about Novato Live Well Network, visit our Home page and scroll down to see a list of our accomplishments.

Entry road, parking, fencing, water tower & irrigation system.
******** Join Us & Support Our Community Garden!

We had our first outreach and fundraising event for the Novato Community Garden Project, titled: "Growing a Healthy Community from the Ground Up!" We had a wonder group of panelists that shared with us how they built and sustained their "community" gardens: from childcare, schools, to senior housing--and of course the traditional community garden. We videotaped the event. In the coming months we will have it viewed on our local public access televisions. More info to come. We also raised over $2,000! We used the funds to help pay for the Design Review application fee to begin the process with the City of Novato to get approval of our project.

WELL WATER UPDATE: Thank you Clear Heart Drilling for donating your services to drill for water at the site! We struck it at 50 feet! Now we can move forward working with the City of Novato to lease the property. Read Press Release.

City of Novato VISION STATEMENT: Now includes support for Community Gardens. By participating in the Novato General Plan Update process, we were able to gain support to include wording in the vision statement to support community gardens. It reads: "As we look to the future, we wish to encourage and promote… creation of public gathering places, parks, recreational facilities and community gardens (emphasis added) that provide a sense of community, and allow enjoyment of our natural amenities…"

1. ATTEND our outreach and fundraising events.

2. JOIN OUT COMMITTEE and help us move it forward. We have been at it since the summer of 2006! We can use help in many areas. We'd love to break ground before the end of 2011, but we can't do it without you! Contact Veronica Valero, 415-897-2302 for more info.

3. SUPPORT THE NOVATO COMMUNITY GARDEN: DONATIONS, small and large, are welcome. We are also looking for material donations and welcome volunteers to help us build the garden. Click here for a donation form and make check payable to: "Novato Live Well Network" Please Write: "Novato Community Garden" in the memo portion of the check. All donations are tax deductible. Mail checks to:

Novato Live Well Network
P.O. Box 1647
Novato, CA 94948-1647

To contact us by phone: 415-897-2302

JULY 1 , 2009 UPDATE: Community Garden Project Takes Root in Novato!:The Novato Community Garden Committee is preparing project plans to submit to the City of Novato for preparation to lease the city’s property at O'Hair Park off of Novato Boulevard. The 1.5 acre site is next to the Dogbone Meadow Park, on the west side. The community garden will have more than 50 plots and a demonstration mini-farm where participants of the garden and members of the community can come and learn how to plant, grow, water and care for vegetables using organic and sustainable principles. CLICK HERE TO READ FULL PRESS RELEASE...

To learn more about the Novato Community Garden Project:
NOTE: Some links no longer available -- we hope to update soon:

(Some articles no longer avail. at website we are in process of permission to repost these articles.)

Come help us build our community from the ground up!



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Mail Checks to:
Novato Live Well Network
P.O. Box 1647
Novato, CA 94948-1647


GARDEN PLOT... the Novato Community Garden? We are accepting "Applications of Interest." You will be the first to know about the progress in obtaining funding to build the garden and the first to receive information on how to apply for a plot. You will also be added to our email list to keep you updated.
Click to Download a "Application of Interest" In English

Click to Download a "Application of Interest" In Spanish/Espanol