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Commonwealth Garden


Thank you to all our sponsors whose donations have made the garden possible:


William and Judith Bailey – Sparetime SupplySanhedrin Nursery
Mendocino Construction Services/Northern Aggregates
Drip Works – Ron’s Quality Construction
Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital – Frank R. Howard Foundation
Community Foundation of Mendocino County




Commonwealth Garden (CG), a project of the Frank R. Howard Foundation, is a special and unique aspect of the campus’ “green” commitment. CG’s mission is to be a model of sustainable gardening that will provide organic food and a place for rejuvenation, while promoting educational outreach and community health awareness within a hospital setting. The five-acre food production garden is located in an area designated as open space on the land donated to the new medical campus. The garden project is a collaboration dedicated to community, agriculture, and education with the purpose of restoring the connection between our health and the food we eat.


Commonwealth Garden goals:


  • To provide a venue in which the relationship between the growth and consumption of food and overall wellness can be properly viewed (demonstration garden).

  • To provide locally grown produce for consumption by patients, staff and visitors of the Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital.

  • To supply established feeding programs in the community of Willits whenever possible (Willits Food Bank, Senior Center) with produce for use in their kitchens.

  • To engage the community through workshops and living classroom experiences.


Infrastructure accomplished to date:


  • 8-foot deer fence around the 5-acre garden site,

  • Well developed and supplying water via solar panels and pump to a 6,000 gallon water holding tank,

  • Christopher’s Healing Knoll (gazebo and orchard) planted in over 50 fruit and nut trees and 3 varieties of over 20 grape plants,

  • Pump house built and housing solar system, pressure tank, tools, etc.,

  • 8-station irrigation system installed to Christopher’s Healing Knoll (in part due to a Community Foundation of Mendocino County grant),

  • Gazebo installed and sitting atop Christopher’s Healing Knoll,

  • The start of pathways (thank you Pete Meihelic and Northern Aggregates),

  • Cover crop planting in vegetable growing area past three years,

  • Installation of a 30 x 96 ft. greenhouse donated by Sparetime Supply (as well as a Community Foundation of Mendocino County grant)

  • 4th year in production delivering produce to the hospital (40 - 75 to 100' beds),

  • Drip irrigation installed,

  • 12' x 24' produce stand,

  • Produce delivery vehicle, and

  • Metal storage building


Christopher’s Healing Knoll and its development, approximately 2 acres of the 5-acre garden site, became possible through a donation from William and Judith Bailey in memory of their son Christopher Bailey. It is with a deep sense of gratitude that this garden moves forward as a way of thanking the Bailey’s by manifesting their wish to provide a place of rest, rejuvenation, and reflection for all those who serve or find themselves in a hospital setting.


And, many thanks for the physical labor provided by countless volunteers and for the countless donations so often given that are necessary to support a project of this size. The Frank R. Howard Foundation and Commonwealth Garden are deeply grateful for your support and generosity.



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