Thank you to our Seedling Soir?e attendees, volunteers, and supporters for making 
the 2015 event our most successful yet. We worked with over 120 volunteers, 
welcomed over 200 guests, and exceeded our fundraising goal of $85,000!


Seedling Soir?e emcee Susan Taylor introduces guest speaker Dory Sandoval. Photo by Galdino Sanchez.
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 will include 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.


Chef Marguerite Grifka of California's Table poses with the Kitchenista volunteers 
who created the salad course 
for the Seedling Soir?e.
Photo by Galdino Sanchez.
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 Kati Christensen.
Specialty Produce 
Farmers' Market Box contents

A dragonfruit flower blooms at Olivewood
Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center
Executive Director

Healy Vigderson 


Program Director

Diana Bergman


Head Gardener

Martha Prusinskas


Chef Educator

Kati Christensen


Manager of Volunteers and Outreach

Ally Welborn 


Development Assistant

Claire Groebner 


Garden Educator

Charles Anacker


Garden Support Staff

Ananda Gunasekara

Adan Teposte


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

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

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our photos on flickr



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.
  SSDopVol Volunteer with Olivewood
Saturday, 6/27 - Day of Play

Day of Play: 
Help us provide a free event for the whole community! Assist with event set-up, registration, children's activities, clean-up, and more.

 Schedule of assignments depends on your specific role and responsibilities. Group opportunities still available. Volunteers must be ages 14 & up.

Sign up or learn more:, 619-434-4281

Can't Come on 6/27? 
Try Digital Volunteering!

Share this post on your Facebook page, with a few words about why YOU support cooking and gardening education.
2015 Seedling Soiree
Thank You for Your Support!

Community leaders and supporters gathered at Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center on Saturday, May 30, 2015 to celebrate transformative change in health and wellness. The Seedling Soiree, a unique outdoor celebration featured a Twilight Cocktail Reception and a Culinary Feast  on the lush, beautiful grounds of Olivewood.



Inspired by the spring harvest of Olivewood Gardens, four chefs created delectable appetizers for the Twilight Cocktail Reception, while Starlite San Diego served craft cocktails featuring herbs from Olivewood Gardens and liquor from GreenBar Craft Distillery.  Live music was provided by musicians of The Stella Quartet of San Diego.


The Culinary Feast that followed showcased top local chefs who united to present a garden-inspired meal in a family-style manner.  The chefs collaborated with local farmers and meat producers to create unique dishes that showcased the best of San Diego County's organic and sustainably grown produce, seafood, meats, and confections; with a special salad course prepared by graduates of Olivewood's Cooking for Salud! program (the Kitchenistas) and volunteer Cooking for Salud! instructor Chef Marguerite Grifka. Ingredients and menu items were donated by event sponsors including Cook Pigs Ranch and Specialty Produce.


This year's culinary crafters were:



This year's theme, "Transformation," highlighted the impact of five years of successful garden and nutrition education for families.  To celebrate this theme, the night included a special sneak peek of a new documentary on the Kitchenistas (graduates of Olivewood's Cooking for Salud! Program),  an award presentation from Dr. Wilma Wooten of the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, and a speech by local high school student and volunteer  Dory Sandoval, all presented by emcee Susan Taylor, Executive Director External of Affairs at Scripps Health San Diego.


Event sponsors included Christy Walton, SDG&E, the Szekely Family Foundation, Mary Walshok, Cathe Burnham, the International Community Foundation, Rick and Marci Romney, Specialty Produce, Sprouts Chula Vista, Irma Gigli MD, The Red Door Restaurant & Wine Bar, and Monte Xanic Winery


Honorary Committee members included Kaiser Permanente,  Audrey Geisel and the Dr. Seuss Foundation, the National City Chamber of Commerce Green Business Association,  Stephen D. Norton & Stepheni M. Norton, Paul Davis, Clark Cutler, Ann Laddon and Adrian Jaffer,  Dennis Doyle, and Healy Vigderson.


Proceeds from the Seedling Soir?e benefit the garden based nutrition education programs offered by Olivewood Gardens to children and adults throughout San Diego County.

Photos By @DiningOutSD
What We're Up To
June and July


In June, we hosted field trips from O'Farrell Community School, Summercrest Housing, and the San Ysidro Health Center. Additional garden visitors included employees of San Diego WIC and Reporter Laura Cavanaugh from CW-6 (look for us in an upcoming segment!)

The Kitchenistas (graduates of our Cooking for Salud! program) and Resident Leadership Academy held meetings to discuss progress on their community change action items; including nutrition education, local liquor store reform, and reducing the availability of fast food.

Also in June:
  • We hosted Deep Yoga Outdoor Bliss Classes and two Volunteer Orientations.
  • Day of Play is coming up on Saturday 6/27! We expect over 500 children and adults to come join us for cooking, gardening, crafts, and more.
Students from Summercrest Housing taste their
Veggie Rainbow Wraps

  • We will host field trips from Girl Scouts "Dig it!" camp, the San Ysidro Health Center, and Horizon Youth Program.
  • Olivewood will be open for tours at our 7/25 Open House!
  • Fall 2015 Internships, including Kitchen Education Intern, Elementary Education Intern, Operations Intern, Program Coordination Intern, and more, will be posted online! Keep an eye out and please help us spread the word.
Now Hiring:
Facilities and Gardens Manager

Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center is looking for an enthusiastic and positive team player who is passionate about gardening and education to care for our beautiful
7-acre Garden and Nutrition Education Center in
National City, CA.


Open House
Saturday, May 25th, 10am-1pm

Learn about our historic roots, current gardening practices, and plans to impact the future of National City. Tours include two large 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
Summer Energy Savings Tips
From Olivewood supporter SDG&E
  • Set your air conditioner to 78 degrees or higher. Changing the A/C thermostat from 72 to 78 degrees can save up to 12% of your cooling costs.
  • Switch to fans when you can. Use a portable or ceiling fan instead of central A/C when you can comfortably do so.
  • Freshen A/C filters regularly. Make sure the filter in your central A/C is clean so it runs more efficiently.
  • Weatherstrip and caulk drafty doors and windows to keep conditioned air in and save up to 5% on cooling costs.
  • Power down equipment. Use power strips or unplug electronics such as DVRs, game consoles and TVs that draw power even when switched off.
  • Make the light choice. When you replace lights, choose energy-efficient products such as LEDs and CFLs
  • Use a pool or spa cover.  Covers can reduce heat loss by up to 90%.
  • Filter your swimming pool for less when you switch to an energy-efficient, variable-speed pool pump and get a rebate.
  • Block direct sunlight. Close window coverings, or use solar shade screens, reflective films, awnings or trees to shade exposed windows.
  • Target your top opportunities to save energy and money with the online energy management tools you'll find in My Account.

Featured Recipe:
Avocado and Tomato Salad 
with Lime and Cilantro Oil

Created by Chef Maylin Navarro


1 bunch cilantro
1 english or hot house cucumber, cut into cubes
2 cups baby heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
2 avocados, cut in cubes
1 cup queso fresco, cut into 1" cubes
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 limes, zested
1/3 cup lime juice
1 medium shallot, minced
1? teaspoons honey or agave nectar
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
? red onion, julienned
pinch of salt (for dressing)
Fleur de Sel, as needed, as a garnish


  1. For the cilantro oil, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and quickly add half of the cilantro leaves for 10 seconds. Remove leaves and submerge into an ice bath for 10 seconds, drain water, and place in a food processor. Strain cilantro oil through a fine sieve. Set aside.
  2. For the dressing, combine minced shallots, lime juice, dijon mustard, honey/agave nectar with a pinch of salt in a bowl and whisk. Slowly, add olive oil a little at a time while emulsifying. Season to taste and set aside.
  3. For the salad, toss the tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, red onion, lime zest and minced serrano with dressing. Season to taste with Fleur de Sel and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, queso fresco, toasted pepitas and cilantro oil.