The Community Gardens in Estero Park were one of the original projects of the District established, in 1986, with the goal of teaching and encouraging gardeners to use organic methods to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers. The District offers garden plots and water to community members for a nominal quarterly fee. Gardeners provide tools and hard work. Contact the District for a demonstration tour or to put your name on the waiting list for a garden plot.

Community Gardens Coordinator—Angela Kamm
805-968-2017 ext. 29

Organic Policy

Many people do not know that the IVRPD maintains its parks using organic methods. This practice contributes to the overall health of our ecosystem and provides park visitors with healthy grass and plants, good air and a clean, healthy environment in which to thrive. On a larger scale, the use of organic methods contributes to the sustainability of life on the planet. The Community Gardens Project at Estero Park is included in the Organic Policy, and new gardeners are trained in organic methods of pest control and soil amendment. The IVRPD is one of the few park districts in the nation that employs a strict organic policy. Based upon the longevity of our program, and the success and beauty of IVRPD parks, other agencies and parks departments have expressed an interest in organic methods.

Not only does the Park District encourage biological diversity through the elimination of chemical substances which harm the environment, but also through its restoration efforts. Native species are planted whenever feasible. These plants are generally hardier and well-adapted to growing conditions of the Isla Vista mesa; thus, they have a good chance of fending off disease and attacks by insects, and require the lease amount of human assistance. Many of the native species are drought tolerant or suited to the soil and rainfall patterns of the South Coast. The District is working towards a healthy and sustainable ecosystem.


From Our Policy Manual:


3140.010 The Board of Directors of the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District is
dedicated to the development and maintenance of Isla Vista Parks using organic
3140.020 Organic methods refers to the system of development and maintenance
which maintains and enhances soil fertility, eliminates the use of chemical pesticides,
fungicides, herbicides and fertilizers and builds a biologically diverse environment.
No blood or bone meal may be used.
3140.030 The use of materials for gardening (fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides,
fungicides) may not be synthetically compounded materials or used with synthetically
compounded materials as defined by §2659.219 (t) of the California Health and
Safety Code.
3140.040 The use of integrated pest management techniques that maximize the local
renewable organic resources and diversify the biotic eco-system are encouraged.
3140.050 The benefits of compost are recognized as an inexpensive means of
disposing organic waste generated by the District. Additionally, compost is identified
as an economical method to build healthy soils and plants.
3140.060 Staff is encouraged to maintain a compost facility for disposal of organic
waste. The pile will be available for staff, gardener and public use.
3140.070 In the event that organic methods have failed and/or the public health or
safety are endangered: The General Manager shall report such events to the Board of
Directors and recommend a course of action.

From our Staff:


“The lush lawns at Tierra de Fortuna are maintained by mixing clover with the grass, to give the soil a nitrogen boost. The grass is mowed often, so weeds do not have an opportunity to go to seed and proliferate. As for the landscaping in the parks, native plants are favored in most cases over exotics, because they have a natural resistance to drought, disease and pestilence.” – Jay Scheidemen, Grounds Supervisor


“It is better to respect the cycles of nature and sometimes tolerate the presence of certain pest and weed cycles that will pass with the season, than to eradicate them altogether and upset the balance of nature.” – Joe Lemus, Grounds Lead


For tips on using organic methods in your landscaping and gardens, please see our Community Gardening Pamplet.



Community Gardens Coordinator—Angela Kamm
805-968-2017 ext. 29

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