What started as a small plant sale to fund their program for extra supplies, has grown into 21 years of comradery with neighbors and surrounding cities that now funds the interns at the Horticulture Department.
According to Jeff Feaster, the Department Coordinator, the budget for the department used to be very low many years ago, so they would sell plants to buy supplies they needed. As time went on, they started growing a variety of plants and started making more money than was needed for supplies. Now the three-day Tomato sale earns about $21,000 and it now goes to pay the interns working year-round and the department now gets sufficient funding for everything else.
“It feels good to support a school for another school,” said Ellie Martin, a former Fullerton College student. Martin purchased plants at the Tomato sale this weekend to plant for the children at the elementary school she now works at.
There were many in attendance on the first day of the sale, including duo Jeff and Betty who said they come every year. Jeff started planting for therapeutic reasons since he injured his back a few years ago.
“Gardening is a hobby that gives back,” said Ed Kim, the Lab Technician at the Horticulture Department. Kim started as an intern himself and now oversees the day to day operations. Working here is his way of giving back.
People like the Fullerton College Tomato sale because they can find vegetables that are not commonly found in stores. This year they had about 136 different varieties of tomatoes, about 50 different varieties of peppers, many cactus succulents and more.
“We listen to our customers,” said Kim, when speaking on how they have expanded the variations of plants, herbs and vegetables they provide every year. “We get requests from people who live more inland and people who don’t have a place to garden and that’s when we added plants for containers.”
The Horticulture Department provides hands on experience with students experimenting with a variety of plants and the department even does their own landscaping. Sometime in the near future they will have a brand-new greenhouse to benefit all those interested in a career in horticulture or those with an interest in acquiring a green thumb.
For any inquiries on the next plant sale contact the Fullerton Horticulture Department at 714-992-7135.