Napa’s ‘Volunteer Gardener’ grows meals for locals dwelling in the margin | Regional News

For Jenn Corleone, healing arrives with some dirt and gardening applications.

Numerous folks acquire up compact-scale gardens as a backyard hobby or weekend pastime, but for Corleone, a fourth-technology Napan, this is her life’s purpose.

She has not had an uncomplicated life — bouts of homelessness, intense serious soreness and numerous occasions of trauma have built certain of that — but now that she has her possess room to reside in, Corleone spends her days creating a neighborhood backyard garden for Napa’s “Rainbow House” household shelter and concocting strategies to strengthen nearby accessibility to deliver and healthier food items.

This isn’t the 1st time Corleone has designed up gardens for folks who stay in the margin—she has a longstanding Instagram account named “The Volunteer Gardener” with in excess of 8,000 followers that have watched her gardening journey around the years — but this will be just one of her largest endeavors still, as her new condominium is appropriate next door and she has all types of big-image programs for the space.

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“This is where I am intended to be,” she stated.

Immediately after moving into her position previous Oct, Corleone experienced again surgical treatment in a week of settling in. Irrespective, she was able to renovate the shelter’s entrance property and bordering lifted beds into what she calls the “Farmacy,” and even hosted a fundraiser party where by she gave out totally free starter vegetation for all those who stopped by on April 30.

As of now, she begins all of the crops in her condominium and walks them down to the backyard when they are completely ready to be planted, but has considering the fact that established a goal for herself to elevate cash for a more long lasting resolution.

“A calendar year from now, I see a thriving greenhouse in excess of there,” she claimed at the plant hand-out function on Saturday. “To show that the disabled can back garden and that meals can be no cost.”

For now, Corleone is generally centered on sustaining her existing vegetation and prepping individuals for the slide, as nicely as wanting for materials to include the young ones who reside at the shelter and want to aid “Miss Jenn.” Most a short while ago, the volunteer gardener was gifted a compost tumbler, which she states the little ones can “spin all working day long.”

“So if you want to go burn up off some demanding strength that you never understand since you are 7 many years old … go for it,” she mentioned. “Anything I can do to serve as a distraction from everything likely on.”

So as a great deal as the job is about rising cost-free food items and supplying Corleone a meditative way to funnel her power, it is also about participating the local small children in the procedure. According to Rainbow House’s Trev Williams, there is not a lot greater than observing the youngsters hop exterior to assistance Corleone drinking water and weed the new beds.

“I have witnessed Jenn thrive 500% because starting off the backyard garden, [and] it is not only therapeutic for her, but it is good for the group. It is sustainable, and it is amazing for the little ones that live in this article,” said Williams. “It is observing the vegetation develop, and the people that are aspect of it increase as properly.”

Also a cheerleader for Corleone and the new backyard garden is Genny Say, who operates as a medical social employee for Queen of the Valley. She is thrilled to see Corleone’s eyesight arrive to lifestyle, and is primarily proud of the perform she has completed to make the residence inviting and comforting for the folks who live there.

“She has built it a position where they can go and just be current,” reported Say. “She has been ready to seriously beautify this area that she is in, and it is not the exact for every person … This is a genuinely important journey for her.”

For Corleone, although, this is just the way she life.

“They’ve obtained their problems, I’ve bought my difficulties, and the universe has its difficulties,” she stated, “so there is a full great deal of healing heading on in this yard.”

Abide by Corleone and the garden’s journey on Instagram @the_volunteer_gardener.

You can attain Sam Jones at 707-256-2221 and

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