PERRIS, Calif. (October 16, 2019) –– The City of Perris dedicated its 17th “satellite community garden” at the Riverside County Office of Education, Perris Early Head Start on Thursday, October 10, 2019, achieving another milestone in its efforts to bring healthy food choices and education to its residents.
In attendance for the garden ceremony were City of Perris Mayor Michael M. Vargas, Assistant City Manager Isabel Carlos, Riverside County Deputy Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edwin Gomez, City of Perris Director of Community Services Sabrina Chavez, Interim Director of Administrative Services Saida Amozgar and Representative of the 31st District Senator Richard Roth Carina Tamayo.
Mayor Vargas was excited to see the continued involvement of gardening in the youth of the city.
“I look forward to seeing our children learning about seed and harvesting at a young age,” said Vargas. “It is always important for our children to learn patience, learn perseverance and learn to get their hands dirty sometimes.”
The 17th satellite garden at the Riverside County Office of Education, Perris Early Head Start continues moving the City forward in the Grow Perris Initiative. After unveiling a community garden at the City Hall Campus, the Grow Perris initiative has passed the halfway point of their mission to establish 30 other gardens throughout the City.
Currently, there are more than 30 partners in the Grow Perris initiative, with the goal of building 30 gardens. The partners include health and education advocates from all over the region including WRCOG, Kaiser Permanente, Eastern Municipal Water District, Department of Water Resources and the UC Master Gardner Program. Riverside University Health System as well as all three school districts in Perris and other local community organizations and leaders.
The two garden champions and site managers for the Perris Early Head Start garden were Jill Wilson and Lori Wiedensohler and oversee the preschool. The Riverside County Office of Education had previously inaugurated Verano Head Start and was eager to continue the Grow Perris Initiative at Perris Early Head Start.
Wilson and Wiedensohler met with City of Perris staff in fall 2018 and then applied for consideration on the second garden to continue the horticulture learning program from Verano Head Start. The City agreed and broke ground in Summer 2019, completing the garden in September 2019.
The garden was completed by efforts from community volunteers, maintenance and operations employees from Perris Early Head Start and students from Future Farmers of America Perris High School, along with Perris City Staff. Staff and volunteers created a garden containing tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and several other fall and winter crops.
Assistant City Manager Isabel Carlos also spoke at the event and shared her appreciation for the implementation of this program into the youth of the community.
“We are delighted with the character and personality of the Perris Head Start Education Garden and welcome their team to the Grow Perris Community,” said Carlos. The Grow Perris movement builds on the passion from our local and regional health partners in planting seeds of inspiration in our community, especially in our little ones to adopt heathy habits. Together we are growing community—a healthy thriving community.