The Chinatown Community Garden provides a free public green space to a low-income neighborhood, increasing food production and community building.

“Where vegetables, flowers, and dreams grow”

Short History of the Garden: The Service Learning Institute (SLI) of California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) developed a public green space and community garden on an abandoned lot, replacing urban neglect with beauty, nutritious food, and employment. The Garden was established by dedicated local marginalized individuals through a job-training program started in 2006. This 24,000 sq. ft. site, the Chinatown Community Garden is where people come to grow food. Garden beds are adopted by residents of the neighborhood and organizations. Each person or organization who adopts a bed takes care of and receives the bounty of their own harvest. The Garden is where 55+ community members (including Salinas’ youth, currently homeless individuals, and university volunteers) learn methods of sustainable gardening and natural building. Currently, the organizations involved with the Garden are: Hope Services, Clinica de Salud, Sustainable Salinas, Dorothy’s Place, Buddhist Temple, Confucius Church, United Way, and the Volunteer Center.

Short History of the Garden Site: On June 13, 1893, the Garden site was marked as, “ground zero” and recognized as sacred ground. This is because, it was there, days after a major fire destroyed the majority of Chinatown, that four out of the first eight property lots were finally leased to Chinese merchants from Mr. Sherwood. Soon after, boarding houses, backroom residents, and houses were built redeveloping Chinatown.

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Current Garden Opportunities:

Adopt-a-Bed: The Chinatown Community Garden has raised planter beds to be adopted. When you adopt a bed in the Garden you can grow produce for yourself, family and friends. Download and complete Adopt a Bed form and submit to Garden Staff.

When you aInsert a description of the image here.dopt-a-bed you receive for free:   
• One 4’x8’ raised planter bed
• Soil and compost for your bed
• Use of water and tools to care for your bed
• Advice and assistance when needed from Garden staff
• A variety of seeds to choose from to plant in your bed

When you adopt-a-bed, your responsibilities are to:
• Read, agree to, sign and follow the Garden Volunteer Guidelines and Rules
• Maintain your bed on a regular basis. Visit your bed at least once a week to care for it.
• Volunteer at least two hours a month in the Garden.


Volunteer: The Garden is largely maintained by volunteers from CSUMB, Volunteer Center, United Way, and CalWorks. Volunteer hours available are Tuesdays through Friday from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

Volunteers receive community service hours and free fresh produce and flowers!

Support: The Garden is always looking for support.

The Garden wish list is:
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• Wheel barrels
• Untreated redwood
• Hand Clippers and Shovels
• Gardening Gloves
• Seeds, plants and bulbs
• Soil, Straw, and Organic Fertilizer
• Garden hoes
• Hard ware cloth
• Weed Wacker
• Rock, Sand and Cement
• Paint and supplies

Garden Staff: Javier Rodriguez is the current Garden Steward, an AmeriCorps VIP.

Learn More: Contact the Project Coordinator, Jeffrey Lehner at or call (831) 582-5083. To learn about up-and-coming events in the Garden ask to be on the Garden’s email list.