California Native Garden Foundation to be a parking lot? Your urgent help is needed

Save this garden from being bulldozed and turned into a parking lot AGAIN!

If you visit our office, you’ll see a photo that I took in 2000, 18 years ago. It’s a large broken concrete parking lot with weeds and invasive plants popping through the cracks. We made a teaching garden where students, families, teachers, community leaders, and customers visit six days a week.

Can you speak out about why you support a teaching Garden at this property and not a parking lot and a new retail building?

Do you believe cities need gardens and urban farms? Do you believe we need teaching gardens close to schools whose schoolyards are covered in asphalt?

Or what about ecology based pre school, farmers markets, college internship programs,

afterschool nature camp, class field trips, Earth Hero’s Nature Camp in the summer, yoga and meditation, men’s classes, working with special needs folks like immigrant seniors, autistic children or expectant mothers?

It all happens here!

And it will all go away if the community doesn’t let the city, county and the Open Space Authority know that we are a valued asset to our community.

To keep this land as demonstration gardens for native plants, as a teaching center for regenerative organic agriculture, as a world-wide center for the Ecovillage and Agrihood model, we need your help. We have become the first Ecovillage in San Jose. Six businesses work here who support this kind of land use in cities.

Our landlord has told me that we can buy the property from him. We cannot do this without the support from local and regional govt. Local government and their agencies will only support this kind of land use if they hear from the voters.

We are asking you to write letters.

For this month, please write letters to the city planner who is managing our landlord’s site development permit. Her name is Ruth Cueto. She can be reached at 408-535-7886. [email protected]

Please refer to Site Development Permit Ref.H-18 010. Don’t wait to write this letter. In two weeks they will be making a decision.

Here are some additional reasons that we hope you will support keeping open space, urban farms and environmental education in urban environments where most people live. If you support this land use, will you please write a letter now? If you do support our work here, please let us know that you do and send a copy of your letter to us at [email protected].


Did you know this about our garden laboratory at 76 Race St.?

  • We are the only certified site recognized by the United States Green Building Council and the Sustainable Site’s Initiative? We have 200 recognized benchmarks for sustainable urban land use.
  • This is the headquarters and flagship garden for The California Native Garden Foundation.
  • College interns come from around the world to learn our methods. Then they go back home and partner with us on Garden education projects. We have development projects in Ghana, India, France and Chile.
  • We are forming a Steering Committee with the goal of building 25 regenerative organic farms with extensive native plantings and edible hedgerows in Silicon Valley during the next five years. Our Steering Committee is comprised of landowners, developers, our board members, investors, local government officials, university professors, non-profits, community groups, urban farmers, grantors, corporations, and small businesses.

In addition to creating these centers in SV we have a MOU with SJSU to write grants for curriculum development and training so their students can learn how to design, build and manage these farms. Other universities can partner with us to set up research projects to compare the outcomes of these kinds of farms to organic farms or agro-petro-chemical farms.

Studies already show that regenerative organic agriculture is the single most important step to solving our global climate crisis, both in reducing greenhouse gases associated with agriculture (30% of total greenhouse gases emitted are directly related to how and where humans grow food) and using farm soil as a carbon sink.

Regenerative agriculture holds carbon in the soil and builds organic content simultaneously. Between reducing emissions of GHG and sequestering carbon in soils, switching to regen farm methods in urban and Peri-urban environments can solve our global warming crisis. Our goal is to show the data on our farms in SV. These farms are also proven to grow 7 to 10 times more food than organic agriculture methods.

  • Middlebrook Center has the only native plant nursery in San Jose. We sell difficult to find native plants and Native edibles, perennial food plants, nitrogen fixing plants, drought tolerant food plants, superfoods and comfort food plants.
  • Middlebrook gardens has designed and built 800 Native gardens from this location. Our former employees have started Native Garden businesses and we are proud of their successes.

Nearly 20 years of a 43-year career as a landscape designer and builder, as a founder and president of a non-profit that has given grants to 85 schools has been spent at 76 Race St. I’d like to finish my career here and not see all of the life and beauty that so many folks contribute to every day be destroyed, literally bulldozed away in a couple of days.

Are you with me?

Please contact planner Ruth Cueto to show your support for CNGF Gardens. She can be reached at 408-535-7886. [email protected]

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