LEAF was founded in 2008 by a group of Fremont residents under the leadership of Bruce Cates. Together, they had the vision of creating a community garden in the California Nursery Historical Park in Fremont's historic Niles district. LEAF negotiated a lease for half an acre of land with the City of Fremont while raising funds to design and build the community garden. In the meantime, LEAF started a community garden in a vacant lot in downtown Niles and began offering gardening workshops to the public.
Once the lease was procured, we started to build Fremont's first community garden. With donations and support from several local businesses, and countless hours spent by dozens of volunteers, LEAF Center opened in October 2014.
In late 2014, LEAF secured a second site when Dr. Chris Stone offered us a free, long term lease for a half acre of land behind her Mission Valley Veterinary Clinic. This site was named LEAF C.R. Stone Garden after Dr. Stone's father. Stone Garden is run by a dedicated group of volunteers who work year round to grow food using regenerative agriculture practices and to donate fresh, sustainably grown produce to our local food banks. In 2022, Stone Garden became a USDA recognized People's Garden.
Stone Garden is used as a venue to hold outdoor volunteer events and workshops where kids can get their hands dirty and adults can learn about topics like beekeeping, vermiculture, composting and much more. In addition, LEAF has a nursery where we propagate seedlings for our gardens.