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Volunteers, donations enhance Garden for Life

by Arlee CDC
| July 4, 2024 12:00 AM

The Arlee Community Development Corporation’s Garden for Life now has a kids’ section and pollinator boxes, thanks to a donation of materials and volunteer labor from South San Francisco-based biotechnology company Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.

Genentech donated four galvanized garden boxes, kids’ water tables, and kid-sized garden gloves, buckets and tools. Fifteen volunteers from Genentech and seven from the University of Montana L.S. Skaggs Institute for Health Innovation gathered last month to assemble the garden boxes that will be filled with plants that attract pollinators.

According to Sean Murphy, Ecosystem Operations lead at the biotechnology firm, the effort was part of the Genentech Gives Back initiative. “It’s our annual tradition to take time to support our local communities and connect with one another in the spirit of giving,” he said.

“The Garden for Life is a family-friendly project,” said Shelly Fyant, Arlee CDC’s food sovereignty chair. “Kids love to join in, learn new skills, and see the results of their efforts. The garden does more than provide fresh produce for the community. It gives families a healthy, fun summer activity to enjoy together, for people of all ages. We’re very grateful to Genentech for their generous donation.”

During its first year in 2023, the Garden for Life produced more than 4,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, which were distributed through the Arlee CDC’s food pantry and given to local preschools, senior centers and partner organizations. Other recent additions to the garden include park benches, picnic tables, and a large raspberry patch.

“We hope to keep improving the garden to make it even more beneficial to the community,” Fyant said. “Having a kid-friendly area enables us to have an impact on multiple generations and pass down traditions and culture along with gardening skills in keeping with our mission of supporting food sovereignty in the Arlee community.”