By Brea Mitchell, Staff Writer
On the grounds of Inglewood’s Darby Park lies a newly-flourishing community garden of plants, fruits and vegetables carefully and diligently maintained by a small, tight-knit group of community volunteers. The Dobby Garden project began in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020, which shortly after led to the closing of the garden. But in January 2021, the unrelenting volunteers pursued round two, and The Dobby Garden was resurrected. This time, the garden is quickly headed towards its full potential.
The Dobby Garden was named after the beloved Parks & Recreation Supervisor Arrick “Dobby” Turner, who died in early 2020. Turner was extremely loved and admired throughout the Inglewood community, and dedicated 30 years of his life serving the Inglewood Parks & Recreation Department. As residents and city employees mourned the passing of their dear friend and colleague, the Dobby Garden turned out to be a much-needed, nearly therapeutic project that helped to mend their broken hearts while also commemorating Arrick Turner.
Inglewood native Eva Penuelas is a current graduate student at LMU, and an employee for the Parks and Recreation department. This already-busy schedule didn’t hold her back from stepping in to volunteer as the Director of The Dobby Garden.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be able to show up and gain our community’s trust. Our community is growing, it’s getting so much bigger. With the new stadium and everything that’s popping up, it’s an opportunity for people to get to know one another.”
The Dobby Garden volunteers have implemented free, monthly community cooking classes using the garden’s fresh vegetables. Additionally, The Dobby Garden crew will be hosting art classes, yoga workshops, dance classes, and they also hope to host open-mic nights in the future. The goal is to be a central gathering place for Inglewood youth and families where you can learn useful skills such as gardening, composting and cooking, but you can also meet up on a Friday evening for game-nights and entertainment.
Garden Director Eva Penuelas sees the importance and benefits of having these options right here in our home community. “This is an opportunity to bring back more community-based things. Not everyone has the privilege to go take a cooking class in Santa Monica. Why pay 200 dollars for a cooking class when I have to pay rent and I have to pay groceries?”
Eva Penuelas and her team are looking forward to continuing to develop a space that residents can call their own. They are eager to bring more activities and themed gatherings that everybody can enjoy, regardless of their financial situation. A top priority, Penuelas emphasized, is to keep all events and classes free of charge.
The Dobby Garden’s presence within the Inglewood community will continue to grow. Volunteer numbers are increasing as word is continuing to spread about the exciting things going on at Darby Park. Garden Director Penuelas has greatly appreciated the support that the volunteer team has been receiving as more and more residents are calling in, inquiring about ways to help with garden maintenance and donations.
Our community’s creative, educational and fun spaces are integral to the overall growth and development of our city. It looks as though The Dobby Garden has blossomed right on time, and more is on the way.