Thank you to the following organizations for your recent grants!

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals for Olivewood's Teacher Trainings 

Qualcomm Foundation for the Children's Field Trip Program

Hervey Family Foundation for the Children's Field Trip Program


Chef Matt Gordon teaching the Cooking for Salud! participants how to prepare healthy meats and meat alternatives.
Unwind at the End
of the Day!

Join us on Thursday evenings at 5pm for stretching and relaxation in our tranquil garden setting. Our beginner-friendly yoga class includes traditional yoga poses and simple meditation techniques.

Classes are presented by volunteers, thanks to a partnership with the Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts Teacher Training at Ginseng Yoga. 

$5 suggested donation. Please bring your own yoga mat or beach towel and dress appropriately for outdoor yoga.

Class ends on October 29th for the season.  Don't miss out!


The passion fruit are here!
Cool Off with Fresh Veggies!
Olivewood Gardens offers  Farmers' Market Boxes from Specialty Produce!  The box ($20) includes a weekly selection of fresh California-grown fruits and vegetables.
Specialty Produce donates $2 of every purchase to the Olivewood Gardens program fund. To learn more or enroll,  contact Claire Groebner.
Specialty Produce 
Farmers' Market Box contents

A few of our Olivewood chickens.
Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center
Executive Director

Healy Vigderson 


Program Director

Diana Bergman


Gardens and Facilities Manager

Leonard Vargas 


Development Assistant

Claire Groebner 


Garden Educator

Charles Anacker


Garden Support Staff

Ananda Gunasekara

Michael Ramirez

Adan Teposte


(619) 434-4281
2525 N Avenue
National City, CA 91950

Board of Directors
  • ChairMary L. Walshok, Ph.D
  • Vice Chair: Sam Dychter, M.D.
  • TreasurerRichard L. Romney
  • SecretaryJacqueline Reynoso
  • Cathe Burnham
  • James Clark
  • Dennis Doyle, Ph.D.
  • Irma Gigli, M.D.
  • Anne McEnany
  • Eleanor Navarra
  • Trish Watlington

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Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center  was created by the
to further its vision of assuring healthy communities and healthy economies in the 
cross-border region.

Cooking for Salud!

The 6th generation of soon-to-be Kitchenistas is learning how to making healthy changes for their families and communities.

The Cooking for Salud! ladies with Chef Marguerite Grifka.  Chef Marguerite taught how to make healthy grains, salads, and dressings.

Cooking for Salud! gives adults from the community the
 tools and confidence to take charge of their kitchen and prepare healthy meals for themselves and their families.  The intensive 7-week course helps to identify ways that children can be a part of the healthy cooking process and ultimately prepares Kitchenistas to go out into the community and share their acquired knowledge with the community.

We are excited to be on this journey with the newest generation and look forward to seeing their transformation!

A special thank you to Chef Joe Pastry of Waters Fine Foods & Catering, Chef Marguerite Grifka of California's Table, Chef Matt Gordon of Urban Solace, Sea & Smoke, and Solace and the Moonlight Lounge, Chef Miguel Valdez of Tabletop Commons, Patricia Perez of the San Ysidro Health Center, and Maritza Guardian of CalFresh for being a part of this program and imparting your knowledge, creativity, and passion to the Cooking for Salud! participants.  You are truly making an impact in the community!

And of course, a special thank y ou to our Kitchenista Leads and Assistants who have returned from previous classes to help empower others to make healthy changes in their lives - Thank you to Patty Corona Morales, Julie Rivera, Ileana Castellanos, Rocio U rrutia, and Miriam Torres!!

Chef Joe Pastry with Ileana, Julie, Patty and Rocio.  Chef Joe taught how to use spices and other flavorings to cut down on sugar and salt.
Welcome to our New Gardens and Facilities Manager
We are happy to introduce the newest member of the Olivewood team, Leonard Vargas.  Leonard joins us as the Gardens and Facilities Manager.

Leonard brings to Olivewood more than two decades of professional growing experience in San Diego County, and has been gardening since he was about 2.  He most recently managed operations for Waterwise Botanicals and has overseen growing at Miramar Wholesale Nurseries, HerbThyme Farms, and other local nurseries.  He managed the urban farm onsite at San Pasqual Academy for their resident students and is excited to work with students and families here at Olivewood.  He is happiest when his hands are in the soil and looks forward to inspiring and empowering our community to grow both food and flowers.

You can reach Leonard at
compostingComposting Workshop
Saturday, September 19
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Join us for a fun and educational class on beginning backyard composting.

You will learn about:
Composting science and strategy
Building home compost piles
Different composting methods

This is a site-based, hands-on training where you will learn by doing!

Register for the class HERE!

Food and Farm Family Program
Saturday, October 17
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Take a family outing to beautiful Olivewood Gardens to    explore the connections between food, health, and nature.
Children with their parents, grandparents, the "cool" aunt or uncle, etc.!  Programming is best suited for children ages 4 and up.
Children ages 3 and under free.

Take part in hands-on cooking, gardening, and educational activities as a family.

Register for the program  HERE !

Teacher Training Academy
Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden 
Sponsored in part by 
Kaiser Foundation Hospitals

Friday, October 9
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Interested in creating  or enhancing a school garden program? This workshop covers planning and designing a school garden, basic gardening skills, curricular connections, and outdoor classroom management-everything you need to get growing in the right direction! 


Register for the class HERE!

Open House
Saturday, September 19th, 10am-1pm

Learn about our historic roots, current gardening practices, and plans to impact the future of National City. Tours include garden areas and a peek inside the Noyes house.


Guided Tours: 10:15am and 12:15pm
Location: Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center
2525 N Ave, National City, CA 91950
Suggested Donation: $5
Contact: 619-434-4281
Cultivating Conversation: A Dine and Learn Series
Farm-to-Table or Farm-to-Fable?

Visit Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center for an intimate outdoor dinner, guided tour, and thought-provoking discussion in our beautiful garden setting. Engage with local experts and enjoy authentic farm-to-table cuisine from a celebrated San Diego restaurant.

Guest Speaker Troy Johnson from the San Diego Magazine will help us to navigate the San Diego food scene and discuss the implications of eating locally sourced food.

Keep an eye out for the date and featured restaurant - coming soon!
Dine for a good cause at Puesto!  
For each vegan taco trio you purchase, one dollar goes to support the programs at Olivewood Gardens!

San Diego's popular Mexican street food concept, Puesto, has added a new  vegan taco  to their award-winning menu. Created as a collaboration between Puesto's Chef Luisteen Gonzales and local singer/songwriter Tristan Prettyman,  the new  Coliflor Asada Taco layers charred cauliflower florets, pickled carrots, chile almond crema and jalapeño pico on a blue corn tortilla. 

The taco will be available at Puesto's La Jolla and Headquarters locations. 

We can tell you from experience - it's worth a try!
  Puesto's new Coliflor Asada Taco Trio  
  SSDopVol Volunteer with Olivewood

Volunteer Dory teaches a Salsita field trip participant how to use the tortilla press.  Dory's mother, Nancy, heats Happy Quesadillas in the background.

Looking for an opportunity to get involved in the community?  Join the Olivewood team as a volunteer!  We have opportunities for everyone, from working with children to helping out in the office. 

Upcoming volunteer activities include assisting with field trips, family events, and of course, HALLOWEEN!  

In addition to our ongoing opportunities, we are currently looking to fill the following intern positions:

Learn more about volunteering HERE
What We're Up To
August and September

  • We began our 6th session of Cooking for Salud!
  • We participated as an exhibitor at the National City Automobile Heritage Day and handed out spa water at National City's first Health & Wellness 5k. Congratulations to Aida Castañeda for a successful event!
  • We hosted Deep Yoga Outdoor Bliss Classes and a Volunteer Orientation.
  • Olivewood hosted an Open House for the community.
  • We participated in the San Diego Food Forum to discuss food security and to hear about what other communities are doing to create a healthy food system.

A child at the August Salsita field trip enjoying a juicy tomato!

  • School field trips start full swing!  We will be hosting 4th grade classes from our partner schools, Olivewood Elementary and Lincoln Acres Elementary, as well as students from Kimball Elementary and Warren Walker Elementary.
  • Another group of families from the San Ysidro Health Center Salsita program will join us for a family field trip.
  • We will graduate the 6th generation of Kitchenistas from Cooking for Salud! on September 17th.
  • Olivewood will host Deep Yoga Outdoor Bliss and a Volunteer Orientation.
  • We will host a Composting Workshop and Open House on September 19th.

In the Community

Free Indoor Plants for Your Classroom or Favorite Teacher!
Celebrate National Indoor Plant Week with San Diego Ag in the Classroom. Tour Olive Hill Greenhouses in Fallbrook, CA. Wednesday, September 16th.  Tours at 2, 3, and  4PM  
1990 Green Canyon Road
For more information and to register, click  here

Free Grant and Funding Workshop for School Gardens and Habitats 
Presented by San Diego Master Gardeners and San Diego Children and Nature. 
Saturday, October 3, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Bay Park Elementary School Auditorium
2433 Denver St. San Diego CA 92110

Free - Good Food Community Fair
Presented by Slow Food Urban San Diego
Sunday, October 11, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
The Quartyard at the downtown San Diego Library. For more information visit

Food Waste Solution Summit
Join others in the San Diego food community to learn and take collective action towards a hunger-free and sustainable San Diego County.
Tuesday, October 6, 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Jacobs Center
404 Euclid Ave., San Diego, CA 92114
Click here  for more information.

Summer Energy Savings Tips
From Olivewood supporter SDG&E

Featured Recipe:
Chia Seed Pudding
Created by Chef Joe Pastry

¼ cup chia seeds
2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tangerines, segmented
1 teaspoon tangerine zest
¼ cup shaved or chopped dark chocolate
parsley, for garnishing
1. Place all ingredients except parsley and tangerine segments in a bowl and mix.
2. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
3. Scoop into bowls and garnish with tangerine segments and parsley.