Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center

A San Diego Secret Hideaway!

By Courtney Daly-Pavone July 20, 2019

When you walk into Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center you step into heaven. It's an urban oasis, a conservatory smack in the middle of National City. Insiders know of this bucolic gem. Neighbors are lucky enough to enjoy it, and occasionally an intrepid reporter uncovers it's beauty, but like so many places I've had the privilege of visiting, it's virtually unknown.


Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center sits on seven acres, has a variety of vegetation and a bounty of organic crops. Seville oranges and passion fruit hang from trees, baby bananas are ripe for the picking, and at Olivewood's cooking class vegetables sizzle on the grill, a melody that would convert any carnivore. 

The center piece of Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center is it's house, an Oliver H Noyes Princess Anne Victorian.  It was built in 1896, and was purchased by the Walton family (related to the owners of Walmart) in 1985. It was donated by the Walton's to the International Community Foundation which created the Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center to give back to the community in 2010.

Today, Olivewood Gardens Learning Center offers tours, cooking classes, gardening internships for high school students, and works with neighborhood schools to teach kids the importance of the outdoors, planting, healthy eating habits and cooking. Children's culinary classes were the seed, but Olivewood Gardens added another layer to their community outreach, they enlisted the parents in a new program called Cooking for Salud (health in Latin). They taught parents those same skills, and like any nurturer they used those tools to improve their families lives.

How it all began...

The Walton's son had kidney cancer, and they credit traditional medicine and a plant based diet to curing their child. After witnessing the benefits of a vegetarian diet, the family was motivated to donate the property to teach others gardening and healthy eating. Today, all of the food that is prepared at Olivewood is plant based. There are some chickens, but they're outnumbered by kale.

Did You Know These Facts About The Hood?

National City is one of the oldest regions of San Diego and was an early settling area for people in the late 1800's.  

National City has the highest total of Victorian homes in San Diego.

At one time, South Bay was the largest producer of olives in the USA.

The mission of Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center is to promote sustainable agricultural methods while showing a local population how to eat right and be healthy.  Hop on board the nutrition movement and visit Olivewood Gardens!

  • Free Day Of Play- Saturday, July 20th, 10am – 1pm
  • Hearty & Healthy Southern Cooking- Saturday, September 7th, 11am – 2pm
  • Garden Tour and Produce Stand- Every THURSDAY, 10am

Learn more about Olivewood's Nutrition Movement Visit:

Day of Play:

Location: Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center

2525 N Avenue, National City, CA 91950 USA 

Tel. (619)434-4281

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