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Ripon youth raise food for needy
Ripon youth raise food
Caitlyn Roe of the Oak Valley Youth Garden along with some of the local youngsters are involved in plans for a new garden behind Studio Joy, which also accommodates the Thursday night Ripon Farmers Market held every Thursday. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

The Oak Valley Youth Garden at Studio Joy in Ripon is beginning to take root at its new location.

Thanks in part to the Thursday evening Ripon Farmers Market, where proceeds, in particular, the vendor fees, have helped support the construction of the new youth garden behind the Studio Joy, 929 W. Main St.

The goal is to raise $60,000 to make possible plans for a one-acre garden with raised beds for vegetable production, fruit trees, picnic tables, a green house, and a children’s play area. Thus far, over $20,000 has already been raised.

The Oak Valley Youth Garden, which has donated over 800 pounds of produce to food pantries from throughout the area since 2017, has outgrown its space at the Community Garden.

“We’ve teamed up with Studio Joy, which has been a blessing to the community,” said Caitlyn Roe, who, for the past three years, has served as the coordinator for the Ripon Farmers Market.

The mother of two – her children are ages 4 and 2 – Roe is also involved with the Oak Valley Youth Garden. She mentioned Thursday at the farmers market that the garden is beginning to take shape, with bender boards, irrigation system, gravel, crushed granite and soil, among others, being recently delivered to the site.

As for the farmers market, which has been ongoing since May and will run through the end of this month – Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Studio Joy parking lot (convenient parking for this event is available in the adjacent Schempers Ace Hardware lot) – vendors on this day included Island-style Ohana Brothers Chips & Popcorn, Specialty Mushrooms, Teepee Bee Natural Honey, Thirsty Bear and a few food trucks.

Coe has been getting 20 to 25 vendors coming in on a rotating basis.

“We want to make (the Ripon Farmers Market) for families to come out and enjoy the community,” she said.

The group has 50 children that are actively involved in raising fresh vegetables and fruit for area food pantries using rented raised beds at the Ripon Community Garden. In 2018 they donated 322 pounds of produce to two pantries — St. Vincent de Paul in Manteca and St. Patrick’s Food Pamntry on Highway 120 between Ripon and Escalon.

The new garden is going behind Studio Joy Pilates.

Plans and update on the youth garden are available via social media – Instagram @OakValleyYouthGarden or