As a Los Angeles police detective, Roseanne Parino knew all about stress.
But whenever she
needed a place of rest, she
found it in her
garden, which always provided a welcome pause from the pressures of her
Now retired, Parino serves as president of the Oak Park Community Gardens, which not only gives her the opportunity to indulge in her lifelong passion for gardening but also allows her to help others experience the same sense of tranquility and personal accomplishment that she has always known.
"It gives us a sense of peace that we really need in these crazy times," she
said, summing up the feelings of many of her
Oak Park Community Gardens
is an approximately one-acre site administrated by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District.
By rule, the gardening is organic — no pesticides allowed.
That's the way it has always been and that's the way it always will be, Parino
"When the founders went looking for property, they saw this piece of land that had never been used for commercial or residential or industry," she
"This land has never been a receptacle for any types of chemicals."
It's a welcome retreat from the clamor of urban life and the diminishing sense of the outdoors.
"A number of gardeners come in as novices," Parino
"We have a great support network of other gardeners.
"There's always something new to learn," she
"If an odd bug shows up, we discuss it and have speakers to address gardening issues."
Growing fruits and vegetables for the table is a great incentive to many patrons, especially with the high costs and inconsistent quality of the grocery store varieties.
"But gardening also is a great way to connect with your children and grandchildren," Parino
For example, when the heat of summer gives way to the chill of fall, Oak Park Community Gardens
swings into its annual Pumpkin Patch, which is taking place this weekend.
The pumpkin patch is how Parino
became involved in Oak Park
After accompanying her
granddaughter, T.J., to the Halloween event, the two decided to commit to developing their own parcel of ground.
This sometimes leads to unexpected benefits, Parino
"Kids tend to be picky with vegetables," she
said, "but if they plant and pick their own food, they will enjoy vegetables that they didn't eat before."
"Everyone has a story," Parino