Rebuilding that the Paradise Community Gardens


One of many tragedies of this Camp Fire was that the destruction of this Norton Buffalo Hall, which not only supplied a meeting place and concert place for its community and outside, but was also the place of quite common community gardens.  Jennifer Peterson, the Norton Buffalo Hall gardens ), is spearheading the effort to reconstruct this important regional source.  Peterson recently talked with all the Real Dirt concerning the background of the gardens and the continuing work to reestablish them on their first website.

First, the background. Eighty-eight years prior to the Camp Fire ripped through Paradise, the Paradise Grange was set on Chapel Drive, a readily missed turnoff Pearson Road. For decades that this community-based non-profit company supplied a meeting hall, courses, concerts, and other services to residents of Butte County.

‘The Real Dirt’ is a pillar by various regional master gardeners that are a part of the UC Master Gardeners of Butte County.

In 2008, thanks in part to the energy and efforts of Michael Waldon, the grange land became home to a thriving community garden project. Many neighborhood residents volunteered in the gardens, functioning beneath the oaks that supplied filtered sunshine to elevated beds, garden trails, along with a variety of seasonal vegetables. One attention of the doctrine guiding the backyard job was experimentation with new and sustainable gardening strategies and techniques.

A couple of decades before, so as to maintain local ownership and management, lots of Community Granges throughout the country became Community Guilds, along with the Paradise Grange has been re-christened that the Norton Buffalo Hall, an outreach arm of this Paradise Community Guilds. The Hall home encouraged two garden choices: The Paradise Neighborhood Garden along with the Organic Plot Garden. The Neighborhood Garden provided community members a opportunity to work with each other to grow new, organic food to talk with family, neighbors, and neighborhood associations. In swap for hours worked at the backyard, members obtained create to take home. A proportion of this harvest was dispersed to neighborhood Food Banks and Community Lunch Programs. The Organic Plot Garden consisted of 15 individual garden plots provided on a first-come first-served basis. Independent anglers could lease a storyline for $10 per month.

Both community backyard choices prospered. Then overdue in 2018 arrived the Camp Fire. The website, for example, building and the backyard infrastructure, was ruined.

The Real Dirt was happy to interview Jennifer Peterson, the long-time (both pre- and – post-fire) planner for the neighborhood gardens. She recently talked with Real Dirt concerning the background of the gardens and also the job to reestablish them on the first website.

Real Dirt: How did you become concerned with all the Paradise Community Gardens?

Jennifer Petersen: In ancient 2014, I stumbled upon the Grange Garden in a charity event which had been held in the Hall. The zinnias and morning glories grabbed my attention straight away, overflowing the 4- by 10-foot raised beds placed inside the adorable small garden with the home made gate. I had been born and raised in Paradise and never knew this was ?! My lawn in Paradise was a gardener’s nightmare so far as sun moves, therefore this was a true find.

RD: Who else at the community partnered together with all the (then) Grange to give seeds, equipment, and plants into the gardens? Who is partnering with you today?

JP: After I called to ask about the leasing beds, it was noted that they had a couple of members that had been interested in producing another backyard area at precisely the exact same site. Paired using a small number of sailors, we moved to work on cleaning up the area and receiving donations of timber, dirt, seeds, and resources. With hardly any cash, a few contributions, and some large dreams we assembled a couple of beds and obtained to growing straight away. Over our four decades ahead of the Camp Fire we had numerous volunteers and people of all ages in the neighborhood. Currently we’re working with like-minded classes such as the Camp Fire Restoration Project, Butte County Local Food Network, Regenerating Paradise, along with many others that share our vision of a resilient and flourishing Paradise.

RD: Was everything dropped in the Camp Fire?

JP: Very little endured the firewe dropped our Hall, recently developed shed, greenhouse, and most of those person beds at both gardens. Last year we worked together with all the Permaculture Action Network and also a number of different groups to sponsor a gigantic Volunteer Action Day. Hundreds of folks showed up from throughout the united states and outside to reconstruct our backyard area, plant an orchard, and also help regenerate the scorched land with cover crops and earthworks. Workshops were held daily, with source stalls to browse, free wood-fired pizza along with a neighborhood lunch, while amazingly talented musicians provided entertainment for many attendees. It was an inspirational day and one that I won’t ever forget!

RD: How do exactly the gardens assist you and many others in their attempts to reconstruct their houses and resides in Paradise?

JP: For myself along with others I think gardening is excellent treatment so rewarding to see the increase of life from seed to fruition. After so much reduction, our community may gain from this. Food safety is a problem today more than ever and it’s a wish to educate and help in that process as far as you can. We attempt to present free seeds throughout the Paradise Seed Lending Library that is currently portable, but we’ve dedicated to constructing a Tiny Seed Library to provide better accessibility. We have plant sales and maintain instruction workshops on a seasonal basis.

RD: What is the vision for these long run of the gardens?

JP: In the future I’d really like to see much more gardens, edible food woods, composting facilities, and outdoor education areas. Lots and a lot of area for recreation, music, art, and comfort. We are faithful stewards of this property and all of the life which thrives here on Chapel Drive.

New backyard beds would be the start of the rebuilding process for the Paradise Community Garden in Paradise. (Jennifer Petersen — Contributed)

RD: What are potential targets for Paradise Community Gardens along with the broader company, the Paradise Community Guilds?

JP: There are strategies to reconstruct the Norton Buffalo Hall in partnership with other regional nonprofits in the town to keep on providing a superb music venue for visiting and local musicians. Paradise Community Guilds has ever been dedicated to this “wondrous power of growing things” which includes our neighborhood.

RD: How are individuals become concerned with the gardens? What do you want to assist you recover and reconstruct?

JP: Paradise Community Guilds has ever been dedicated to the “wondrous power of growing things” which includes our neighborhood. Anyone curious can associate with us via our Website ( or Facebook ( page. We have open arms for anyone who wants to join us and help make a true Paradise here on the ridge. Resources and helping hands always make for lighter work, and we can always use more of those!

RD: Thank you Jennifer Petersen, and all the dedicated visionaries working to rebuild Paradise.

The UC Master Gardeners of Butte County are part of the University of California Cooperative Extension system, serving our community in a variety of ways, including 4H, farm advisors, and nutrition and physical activity programs. To learn more about UCCE Butte County Master Gardeners, and for help with gardening in our area, visit If you have a gardening question or problem, call the hotline at 538-7201 or email [email protected])edu.

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