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ASI senate supports community garden project

The garden would be built on the preserved Native-American land on campus.

The sacred grounds of the Gabrielino-Tongva tribe have remained untouched on campus for years, but now the tribe is looking to bring new life to the land.

The Associated Students Inc. Senate passed a resolution last Wednesday showing its support of building a community garden on Puvungna, a Native-American land that has been preserved on campus.

“It’s as sacred as Mecca is to Islam, as Jerusalem is to other religious entities,” said Vincent Holguin, Gabrielino-Tongva Tribal Council member and senior engineering major. “For the Gabrielino-Tongva people, it’s where life originated on Earth.”

Located on the west end of Cal State Long Beach, near Bellflower Boulevard and Atherton Street, Puvungna remains an open space primarily used for the tribe’s ceremonies and events.

ASI Vice President Jonathon Bolin said multiple groups have expressed interest in building a community garden at the site, including Students for Sustainable Health, who are looking to plant fresh produce there in an effort to promote environmentally conscious eating habits.

“My role in this is to bring together all of the groups trying to build a community garden, and instead of scattered effort where one group is saying, ‘Yeah, we want a community garden here,’ and another saying, ‘We need one over here too,’” Bolin said, “I’m just trying to get all the groups together, get them all in one room and say, if we’re actually going to do this, let’s combine efforts and let’s do it.”

This week, District 3 councilman Gary DeLong sent a letter of support to ASI for the establishment of the garden. By the end of the week, the Gabrielino-Tongva Tribal Council is also set to pass its own resolution backing the project.

“So we have the council member’s support, ASI—which represents the students’ support—and the tribe,” Bolin said. “They’re three big players so that’s huge.”

According to the resolution, ASI is also encouraging administration, including Physical Planning and Facilities Management, to support the efforts of building a community garden on campus.

Holguin said the tribe hasn’t decided what will be in the garden yet as it would like to hear what students and the community want to see in the garden.

“We do envision fruits, vegetables, things of value,” Holguin said. “There’s so many things you can do. There’s a whole spectrum of conversation surrounding this garden and we’re going to be putting forth a few proposals, but we’ll take them out to a community convocation.”

Bolin said a resolution to show support is all that ASI can provide at the moment.

“Personally, I think it’s a great idea, but ASI can’t really help any more than just passing our support for it because ASI is kind of strapped for money right now,” Bolin said. “There’s a ton of different students who want this done.”

Bolin said he plans to meet with the groups involved to discuss how the efforts for building the community garden can be consolidated.

 

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