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Raised garden beds line the Richmond Greenway.

 

Richmond Greenway

Richmond, Calif.
Length: 2.8 miles
Opened: 2007

For more information, contact Urban Tilth or The Watershed Project.

 

Case Study: Gardens and Urban Pathways

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Richmond Greenway, Richmond, Calif.

Thanks to a diverse and dedicated group of community organizations, there are gardens sprouting up all along the Richmond Greenway, once a former Santa Fe Railroad corridor. Due to the efforts of Urban Tilth, The Watershed Project, Gompers Garden and others, the Richmond Greenway is growing more food for residents with every season, and the gardens have become neighborhood destinations.

The first garden was started in 2007 between the greenway and Lincoln Elementary School. To preclude concerns about contamination from the old railroad grade, raised beds were constructed. The garden's 48 beds are well-tended and grow a variety of produce for local residents to enjoy. Lincoln School Farmers and the Bright Futures After School Program assist in keeping the beds watered and weed free.

Urban Tilth also builds garden beds along the greenway. The organization planted a grove of berry plants, known as Berryland, and is planning an edible forest with fruit trees and a grape trellis. Urban Tilth also participates in the city's Summer Youth Employment program, training youth in urban farming. Youth workers spend the summer on the greenway cultivating the gardens and working on other trail amenity projects.


More than 300 community volunteers participate in Martin Luther King, Jr.
Day of Service, improving the Richmond Greenway and its gardens.

Additionally, The Watershed Project works to enhance the natural environment. The organization developed a bioswale filled with native plant gardens to demonstrate how low impact development (LID) management practices can be used to absorb and filter stormwater using natural landscaping. The Watershed Project also replaced weeded areas with native plants to attract birds, butterflies and bees. Students at nearby Gompers High School have also contributed to projects on the greenway. They painted a large mural on a bare wall facing the greenway to discourage graffiti. The students are now working to create interpretive signs to educate trail users about the gardens, native plants, bioswale and the history of the corridor. These community groups are also partnering to seek park bond funding for the city to invest in active play structures and a public plaza to build out the remainder of the greenway.

Inclusive and continuous community engagement has been critical to the success of the gardens along the Richmond Greenway. Neighborhood groups are recruited to adopt sections of the trail, helping with maintenance and other projects to enhance the pathway. Local residents are encouraged to participate in monthly workdays on the Richmond Greenway, which are followed by a community barbeque.

"I saw a father and two kids out here, walking through the area, picking fava beans and eating strawberries… The community appreciates what we've put together and knows that it belongs to them. That's really exciting to see."
     —Latoya Williams, Principal at Gompers High School

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
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Washington, DC 20037
+1-202-331-9696