Mountain View community gardens poised for growth 

Mountain View’s green spaces are growing, in more ways than one.

The city parks department and local nonprofits are working to expand gardening opportunities throughout the neighborhood. The first task? Finding the right land.

Davis Park is a prime candidate. The Department of Parks and Recreation is in the process of creating a new master plan for the park; gathering feedback from more than 100 neighbors and community groups during two open houses and various advisory meetings.

“We saw a lot of support for expanding community gardens in the park,” said park planner Steve Rafuse at June’s Mountain View Community Council meeting.

The McPhee Community Garden in 2014.

The McPhee Gardens in 2014.

Once the park master plan is approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, it helps direct park funding and future development. Davis Park is currently home to the McPhee Gardens and the Fresh International Gardens — both on McPhee Street. The McPhee Gardens are run by the municipality, and Fresh International is part of Catholic Social Services’ Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services.

The Anchorage Community Land Trust is among the groups working to grow community gardens in Mountain View.

In 2013, ACLT opened the Gardens at Bragaw on a chunk of city property just south of the Glenn Highway. The garden fulfilled several goals: It revitalized underused land, and it created a new neighborhood gathering place and food source. 

The plots are popular; more and more so every season. Some people waited more than a year for a community garden space.

“The goal is to take another space like that…and create another large-scale community garden,” said Radhika Krishna, the Land Trust’s community development manager.

The space could be somewhere in Davis Park or possibly even Louie G. Mizelle Park, she said. ACLT has leftover state grant funding to build new community gardens, and the project should happen sometime over the next two years. While it all relies on finding the right land, gardens have plenty of neighborhood support. They cross cultural and economic lines, put food on tables around Anchorage and draw growers from every walk of life.

“That’s really what the gardens are about,” Krishna said. “They’re about bringing the community together.”

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