UCI Connected: Katie Babcock

Name: Katie Babcock

Title: Communications and Office Manager for Environmental Planning & Sustainability

Volunteer/Charity Organization Name: South Laguna Community Garden Park

How do you give back? I’m a garden member and committee member of South Laguna Community Garden Park. The committee meets monthly to discuss special projects, events and operations. I spend a lot of time in the garden, helping with projects such as landscaping, pruning and planting. Currently, I’m heading up a project to improve our website and online presence. I contribute any way I can and love being a part of the garden community.

Tell us about why this cause matters to you: I grew up on a small farm in rural New Zealand where my family and I would grow our own food and share produce with the local community. Having a connection to the earth and being able to understand where food comes from is really important in so many ways. When I moved to the U.S., I knew I wanted to have a garden to grow food. In the process of joining the community garden, I’ve made great friends. It’s like having another family from all walks of life. Each person has different things to share with you and teach you. Community gardens can help young and old alike to understand the importance of food and friendships, creating a sense of belonging and togetherness that can be so hard to attain in a city.

How can others get involved? You can join in on the fun at any of our free events, which are listed on our Facebook page and website. We have monthly educational workshops on topics ranging from what to plant for summer to gardening with beneficial insects. We also host social events with live music, food and drinks. If you live close by, get a plot and become a garden member. If you’re just in Laguna for the day, enjoy walking through the garden and seeing what people are growing, then head to the beach for a swim. The garden is always open and always welcomes visitors. The garden is located on the corner of Eagle Rock Way and Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

Are you a faculty or staff member who lives to volunteer and give back? Do you have a coworker who spends their weekends helping others? Tell us about the organizations you love and the people who inspire you! Email the UCI ZOTline editor at zotline@uci.edu to be featured in an upcoming issue.