Garden Grows

Pocket community harvest delivers freshness

By Corky Mau
August 2021

Have you ever eaten fresh corn or a tomato straight from the vine? They’re amazing. Pocket resident Jane Hing shares her produce with me as she tends her plot at Sojourner Truth Park Garden. “I grew up on a vegetable farm in Cleveland, Mississippi,” she says. “In Texas, I grew Chinese vegetables in my front yard and along the driveway.”

Like her fellow Pocket gardeners, Hing loves to play in the dirt. Gardening can be therapeutic. There’s satisfaction in growing your own food and sharing your bounty.

Community gardens come in all shapes and sizes. They provide a low-cost and nutritious way to help feed a community. They bring people together—longtime residents and newcomers.

Sacramento offers 17 community gardens within city limits, and around 50 throughout Sacramento County. Bill Maynard is a Master Gardener and heads the city’s community garden program. He tells me in upcoming months, two more gardens will open, one at Mirasol Village in the River District and another at The Mill at Broadway.

Establishing Pocket’s garden was a five-year effort led by Will Cannady, a teacher at the School of Engineering and Sciences. In August 2019, the community garden, adjacent to campus, finally opened.

“Our family has been here since day one,” Cannady says. “We pay $50 a year for our plot. That’s a small price to pay for the joy of sharing our family’s produce.”

His joy extends to the school’s two student garden clubs. “Our students have learned a lot about what grows best in our microclimate,” he says. “Right now, they’re growing zucchini, pumpkins, eggplant, beets, melons and a variety of greens. A huge thanks goes to gardener Michael Shapiro.”

Shapiro spends countless hours working with students on the garden. He says, “My wife, Rosella, is a Master Gardener and I’ve learned a lot from her. I use my small garden plot to demonstrate gardening activities to the students. Many don’t have gardens at home or no gardening experience. They work very hard. I love seeing their excitement when they harvest their crops.“

Maintaining the community garden is a yearlong effort. Lance Roberts provided extra manpower this summer. He spruced up and mulched the entire garden as part of his Eagle Scout project.

As I walk the garden, I see beautiful sunflowers and varieties of vegetables and fruit. Cannady says crop swaps with the community are planned for the near future.

Sojourner Truth Park has 26 garden plots and four ADA accessible plots. There’s a waitlist, but contact Maynard if you’re interested. He can be reached at (916) 262-4699 or

Shari Roeseler, executive director of the Society for the Blind, will lead a self-defense workshop for people with vision loss on Thursday, Aug. 19, from 1–2 p.m. at ACC Senior Services.

Learn how a cane can be used for self-defense. This class is open to anyone. To register, call (916) 393-9026, ext. 330. Guidance about attending in-person classes can be found at

Join the Greenhaven Soccer Club Saturday, Aug. 28, to clean up Renfree Park. Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. No need to bring tools, just show up.

Park cleanup events are co-sponsored by City Councilmember Rick Jennings. To volunteer, RSVP to or Devin Lavelle at

Award-winning chef David SooHoo will demonstrate stir-fry cooking in a workshop Wednesday, Aug. 25, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at ACC Senior Services.

SooHoo will share stories about Chinese cooking during the Gold Rush and his stint as personal chef to hotel magnate Barron Hilton.

To register, call (916) 393-9026, ext. 330. Information about in-person classes can be found at

Corky Mau can be reached at Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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