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The community garden surrounding Beyond Baroque is the result of several generous individuals and organizations devoting time and resources to cultivating the land and beautifying our space. It began in the year 2000 thanks to the initiative, design and fund raising efforts of member Marina Borawick. Prior to this time, there was no landscaping in place beyond two yucca trees and a bird of paradise. Over the next decade, Ms. Borawick added low maintenance trees and plant beds all around the Center, with her most recent addition being the Poetry Garden behind our building.

In 2013, Tom Rau and Steve Williams—both members of the Venice Surfrider Foundation —spearheaded a grant application to establish an “Ocean Friendly Garden” on the plot in front of Beyond Baroque’s bookstore. The Keep Los Angeles Beautiful Foundation awarded them the grant, and within months they’d transformed the space: what was for years a spare, drought-tolerant lawn became a gorgeous and eco-friendly garden. Not long after Rau and Williams were finished, non-profit organization Kiss The Ground ooffered to expand the project and establish a fully-fledged community garden not just in front of the bookstore, but on all the arable land surrounding Beyond Baroque and SPARC (Social Public Arts Resource Center).

In 2018, Kiss the Ground passed management of the garden to Safe Place for Youth, (S.P.Y), a local nonprofit whose mission is to inspire, nurture, and empower the resilient human spirit of homeless youth by providing immediate and lasting solutions, one young person at a time. Today, the Safe Place for Youth Community Garden at Beyond Baroque provides youth with a safe and engaging outdoor environment that highlights food justice, community building, and healing. Through onsite internships and educational workshops, youth develop workforce and life skills, while cultivating greater self-esteem and self-sufficiency. While witnessing food grow, from seed to harvest, youth experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness are offered meaningful opportunities that highlight their resilience, creativity and ingenuity.

Over the years the garden has grown into a vibrant and harmonious blend of fruit trees, raised vegetable beds, and indigenous flora. Each quarter, we host a garden party in collaboration with S.P.Y.: the garden’s seasonal harvest furnishes a community meal while various artists, musicians, and writers perform for the public.