Bishop Community Garden Plans on Growing
Like the vegetables and flowers in Bishop’s Community Garden, the group of organizers wants
to grow to both meet current needs of avid gardeners as well as reach out to multiple Bishop
communities. Those plans were brought to the Bishop City Council last month.
The Friends of the Eastern Sierra Gardens made their first presentation to the Council in 2009.
Since then, an under-used area of the City Park, leased from the Los Angeles Department of
Water and Power, has morphed into 38 small, but lush, rental plots and demonstration beds.
The group received a $138,921 Urban Greening Grant through the California Natural Resources
Agency, formally submitted by the City of Bishop. Now, the Friends want to enlarge and
enhance the garden space to encourage residents of the east Bishop area to take advantage of
both the opportunity to start their own garden and the inevitable over-abundance of produce.
To accomplish those goals, and remain sustainable, gardener Bobbie Stryffeler told the Council
the group would need help.
This over-abundance is already helping residents of east Bishop, Stryffeler told the Council. She
noted the Sharing Garden section, currently being planted, will be available to the neighboring
communities and all garden visitors. With the escalating cost of food, the effort to provide
healthy family meals is getting harder, especially in a low-income area. Stryffeler referred to the
median income of $28,000 within a half-mile radius of the garden. The availability of free, fresh produce lightens the burden of feeding a family. The garden already provides produce to the United Methodist Church’s Soup Kitchen.
The current one-acre public garden, located southeast of the Bishop City Park along the Pine to
Park walkway, is home to 38 individual plots measuring 10- by 15-feet. The Garden currently
has a waiting list. In addition to the individual plots, the group has developed demonstrationareas. One example is the pollinator garden attracting bees to spread their wealth. As Stryffeler explained to Council, the garden serves as a classroom for locals demonstrating what can be done in their own gardens.
The Friends’ plans include adding trees and benches along the concrete Pine to Park path,
creating a place for those with mobility issues as well as mothers with strollers to stop, sample
the garden crops, rest and take in the views. Another plan includes expanding the water system
and enlarging the current compost station to provide access for heavy equipment to bring in
waste and take out compost. The composting area has already taken in more than 1,000
pounds of garden debris and kitchen waste from local restaurants.
Bishop is exempt from the State mandate to recycle but Stryffeler noted the Community
Garden serves as an example of what can be done to reduce the impact on existing landfills.
Stryffeler acknowledged the ambitious plans for the garden are not sustainable without help
from the City and other local agencies. Her big ask of the Council was to consider adding a
position within Parks and Recreation Department to take on the expansion of the Community