Ryan Bonaminio Park Celebrates Community, Honors Fallen Officer

(Includes excerpts from the article written by Alicia Robinson, Press-Enterprise)

Everyone who came to the grand opening of Riverside’s Ryan Bonaminio Park on Saturday, June 29, had their own reason to be happy.

Riverside Mayor William "Rusty" Bailey displays a plaque for the new Sam Evans Field, home of Evans Little League, during the opening celebration of Ryan Bonaminio Park in Riverside on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Photo: DAVID BAUMAN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey displays a plaque for the new Sam Evans Field, home of Evans Little League, during the opening celebration of Ryan Bonaminio Park in Riverside on Saturday, June 29, 2013.
Photo: DAVID BAUMAN/PE STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

For Sofia Parada, 8, it was exciting to have fresh, new fields where she can play softball.

Down at the west end of the park, volunteers with the 1-acre community garden were smiling because they were finally able to start planting. They’ve got two demonstration plots going, some fruit trees are in place, and there’s more to come.

And while they hadn’t waited as long as the Little League folks or gardeners, the park opening was perhaps most important to a wide swath of the community who came to pay tribute to slain police officer Ryan Bonaminio, including his family and friends.

“Ryan was a hometown hero,” Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz told several hundred people who sweated in the summer heat Saturday. “His life was short but full of significance.”


The opening of Ryan Bonaminio Park celebrates the ‘Unified City‘ that the Riverside strives to be, working together to create a better quality of life while honoring those that have already made the community a better place.

To read the full article as published on PE.com, click here. For more pictures from the June 29, 2012 Grand Opening event, click here.

Eastside Garden Gives Riverside Students Hands-On Learning Experience

The Eastside Community Garden at Emerson Elementary School is a shining example of Riverside’s unified spirit working together for the common good of the city as a whole.

On February 23, the Press-Enterprise published a story written by correspondent Kevin Keckeisen about the collaborative effort between Riverside Parks and Recreation Department and Riverside Unified School District. The garden is part of the school district’s Farmers Market Salad Bar program.  The following is an excerpt from the story:

First-grader Kalia Cook, 6, inspects lettuce plants with the rest of her class at the Eastside Community Garden at Emerson Elementary School in Riverside. (photo by Kevin Keickerson; source: PE.com)

First-grader Kalia Cook, 6, inspects lettuce plants with the rest of her class at the Eastside Community Garden at Emerson Elementary School in Riverside. (photo by Kevin Keckeison; source: PE.com)

Nearly two dozen different crops such as squash, tomatoes, eggplants, lettuce and onions are grown. The produce provides students nutrition at the school salad bar, and some is sent to RUSD Nutrition Services to be centrally prepared and distributed to other schools in the city.

“Kids don’t have the foggiest idea where this stuff comes from. It comes from the grocery store as far as they’re concerned,” said Tony Inaba, caretaker of the garden and Riverside parks commissioner.

Students do most of the planning and weeding, and they observe. They work on the garden once every other week, and so do students with disabilities from North High School. It’s a learning process and part of their curriculum, Inaba said.

The community also has access to the garden.  According to the Eastside Community Garden Facebook page, this is the city’s oldest community garden and has been in existence since approximately 1980. In 2004, Emerson Elementary and the City of Riverside Parks and Recreation Services Department joined forces.  Since then, the operation has won national attention for it’s ‘garden to salad bar’ participation by the Emerson Elementary students five years in a row.

Click here to read the full story as published in the Press-Enterprise.

For more information on the garden, visit the group’s Facebook page.

Donation Helps Riverside City College and the Wood Streets Green Team Get New Community Garden Out of the Ground

(Includes excerpts from the article submitted by Riverside City College and published in the January 1, 2013 Press-Enterprise)

A $1,000 donation from Calvary Presbyterian and the Wood Streets Green Team capped nearly two years of planning for a new community garden at Riverside City College that supporters hope will yield organic fruit and vegetables and provide an “outdoor lab” for students and the community. The new garden will open in the spring.

“We are excited about the creation of this community garden and very pleased with the enthusiasm and generous support from our neighbors and local businesses,” said RCC President Cynthia Azari. “Along with the new LEED certified School of Nursing and the Math and Science buildings, the community garden is another example of RCC’s commitment to environmental sustainability and community involvement. It will be an extraordinary learning environment for everyone.”

From left are: Ryan Sendejas, RCC student; Marilyn Morris; Preston Galusky, RCC faculty member; Pat Silvestri, Calvary Presbyterian member; Kamron Golbaf, RCC student; Justin Scott-Coe, of the Woods Street Green Team; Tonya Huff, RCC faculty member; and Virginia White, RCC faculty member.

From left are: Ryan Sendejas, RCC student; Marilyn Morris; Preston Galusky, RCC faculty member; Pat Silvestri, Calvary Presbyterian member; Kamron Golbaf, RCC student; Justin Scott-Coe, of the Woods Street Green Team; Tonya Huff, RCC faculty member; and Virginia White, RCC faculty member.

Volunteer crews of students, faculty and community members are prepping the former parking lot turned garden site, located adjacent to the Math and Science building and the Library and Learning Resource Center on upper campus. College facilities staff installed a security fence and funds donated by the Associate Students of Riverside provided materials that volunteers are using to construct runoff-prevention decomposed granite pathways. Corona Tools donated more than $1,000 in contractor-grade equipment towards the effort. The donation by Calvary Presbyterian and the Wood Streets Green Team will be used to purchase fruit trees and garden benches. Other planned amenities include a gazebo that will provide shade and space for gardening workshops, as well as entrance arbors to support grape and kiwis vines.

RCC students, faculty, and community members initiated the project in order to learn, teach, and encourage sustainability through local food production and community building.

 “The Green Team is thrilled to provide a return on the investment RCC has made and continues to make in our community,” said Justin Scott-Coe, a member of the Wood Streets Green Team Board of Directors and member of the Seizing Our Destiny Champions Council. “The RCC Community Garden is the first of what we hope are a number of community gardens supported through our local fundraising and partnership efforts. We thank Calvary Presbyterian for providing such a generous donation toward what will certainly be a premier community education and healthy food resource.”

As the new community garden comes on line, planners expect to schedule regular workshops focused on local gardening techniques from pruning to pest management. Once opened, the RCC garden, which features cultivation plots, will join a number of established and emerging gardens throughout the city of Riverside that participate in the Riverside Garden Council. As part of the Council, RCC will be able to help connect interested parties with gardening and volunteer opportunities throughout the city.

The RCC Community Garden demonstrates, the spirit of a unified community that comes together around common interests and concerns and showcases Riverside’s commitment to being one of the most inspiring, livable, healthy and adventurous cities to live in or visit.

For more information about the new Riverside City College community garden, or to volunteer, call 951-222-8361.

For more information on the Wood Streets Green team, click here.

To read the full article as published in the Press-Enterprise, click here.

Garden Feast Celebrates Community and Sustainability

The Wood Streets Green Team is inviting Riverside residents to come get to know their community members better with a potluck featuring dishes made from home or locally grown vegetables on Sunday, October 16 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the RCC Alumni House (3564 Ramona Drive; Riverside, CA 92506).

The Green Team sponsors several workshops, seminars, and meetings throughout and the year and would like to celebrate the successes with a Garden Feast. A presentation of opportunities to get involved with the Green Team such as joining one of their work groups will be presented as well as a brief update on the progress of their community garden initiatives. This is a great way to reconnect with old friends or make new connections. The group will also reflect on past successes and create a vision for what the future holds.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share that is made with home grown vegetables or those purchased from local sources (may be vegetarian or not). The Green Team will provide dessert but guests should bring their own beverages, seating, plates, utensils and cups. Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. and parking is limited. Please RSVP here to reserve your place.

The Woodstreets Green Team is an organization devoted to building community connections around green initiatives and encouraging sustainable living within the city .