Donning vegetable costumes, signs and bright yellow T-shirts, supporters of the Beach Flats Community Garden flooded Santa Cruz City Hall and its lawn on Tuesday, Nov. 3, to discuss a permanent solution for the 20-year-old garden facing eviction.
In the stuffy council chambers that reached their 114-person capacity, city councilmembers listened to supporters express their love for the garden. The meeting came in response to a multi-month battle to save the half-acre garden in its entirety. The fate of the garden, which is on land owned by the Seaside Company, has been in limbo since March, when gardeners received notice that the company would reclaim their land in November.
City Councilmember Micah Posner, who put forth a resolution that calls for the city to look for a permanent home for the Beach Flats Garden, pointed out that the Beach Flats community faces a unique situation: the garden, which happens to be the most substantial open space in the community, sits on private land. Posner also called for the city to attempt to buy the land on which the garden now sits. The council unanimously adopted the whole resolution.
The item began with an unexpected announcement from Kris Reyes, Seaside Company spokesperson, saying that the company would extend its lease on the garden. The new lease will keep two thirds of the garden open for the next three years while the city looks for a permanent solution. Reyes said the company’s willingness to extend the lease was due to the city’s commitment to finding a permanent solution.
Prior to the meeting, hundreds marched from the garden to the city hall, and during the meeting organizers highlighted the over 3,700 online signatures—most of them on paper—that they collected on a petition supporting the garden. “This kind of community support, you just don’t see that every day,” Councilmember Richelle Noroyan said.