Suggested Enhancements to the ENVISION GARLAND 2030 PLAN
Part of any well-managed system designed to span many years, should be a built-in process that allows for continuous improvement. Long-term city plans are one example of such systems that should be subject to scheduled reviews that result in tweaks to the trajectory of the recommendations.
You are part of the city in which you reside. I recommend that you review your city's long-term plans and think what suggestions you might make for updating some of its goals. Following my own advice, I recently read "Envision Garland - 2030 Comprehensive Plan" that was created in March of 2012--four years ago.
If I were Queen, these are the additions I would make to Chapter 3: Land Use Element of my city's long-term plan:
SUGGESTED LAND USE GOAL AND RELATED TARGET ADDITIONS:
GOAL: MORE FOOD LOCALLY PRODUCED
It is a suggested goal that by 2030 5% of all food consumed by residents of Garland is grown within the boundaries of our city—by residents and in our city parks and on other city-owned property. By 2050 over 80% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. Local food production within the boundaries of all municipalities is predicted by many sources to become more and more critical. [Note: This modest 5% goal for local food production within a municipality is one that I’ve found in my research to be part of Calgary’s long-term plans for that city.]
To minimize any additional stress on our resources such as water in our drought prone area, it is suggested to build hugelkulturs to accommodate the planting of more edibles in our parks. These types of beds, after one year of maturing, are said to require no additional nutrients or water for up to 25 years.
NOTE: Perhaps we can build community by engaging residents to participate in these efforts to build hugelkulturs. To build them is labor intensive but not expensive as you use natural resources such as decaying logs and organic matter such as leaves and animal manure. It is recommended that these beds mature one year prior to planting.
Target 1: Every park in Garland will have at least one hugelkultur built in it by the end of 2018
Target 2: By the end of 2019 every park in Garland will have added two edible plants to the first hugelkultur (either fruit trees or perennial edible shrubs such
as a blackberry) The blackberry will be thornless and will have a trellis.
Target 3: By the end of 2025 a second hugelkultur is added to all the Garland parks
Target 4: By the end of 2026 every park in Garland will have at least two edible plants in the hugelkulturs build in 2025.
Target 5: By the end of 2030 every park in Garland will have at least three hugelkulturs
Target 6: By the end of 2031 all three hugelkulturs in every park in Garland will have many edible plants growing in them.
These beds can also contain some low-maintenance annual edibles such as pigeon pea shrubs. These plants look like small trees, about 7 feet tall and produce edible peas. They are nitrogen fixing and an excellent choice. You can see four of them growing now in the Garland Community Garden. They are very pretty. Kale is another edible that grows well in our city as you can see at the Garland Community Garden.
EXPAND THIS PLAN BY APPLYING THESE SIX TARGET GOALS TO THE LAND ON WHICH ALL SCHOOLS IN THE GARLAND ISD ARE BUILT. This would have the added benefit of teaching our future leaders the importance of proper urban land stewardship and management.
Note: Thanks to the efforts of Loving Garland Green, the teachers and parents of students at Watson MST, they have a hugelkultur in their school garden that was installed in May of 2016.
We might also explore the possibility of creating modified narrow (2 ft wide, 3 ft deep) hugelkulturs along some downtown south-facing city walls and growing annual vine vegetable crops vertically such as zucchini and cucumbers.
GOAL: Take Actions to protect our ecology and the balance of nature in our community.
Target 7: By 2018 No more leaves are taken to the Hinton Landfill
It is a serious ecological mistake for our city to carry an estimated 12,000 tons of leaves to the Hinton landfill each year. Ideally leaves should remain very close to the place where they fall. Decaying leaves are nature’s way of building new soil and replacing nutrients taken from the existing soil to grow those leaves.
This can be achieved simply through a public awareness campaign that:
1) Educates people that the leaves they put curbside go to the landfill. (Many of our residents mistakenly believe these leaves are recycled by Environmental Waste Services.)
2) Educate people regarding the better choices they have available to them.
Target 8: Develop an Online Ecological Footprint Measurement Tool
By 2018 the Garland City website has an online tool that enables residents to assess and measure their own ecological footprint as well as that of their city. This tool would then offer suggestions for minimizing size of the ecological footprints—as individuals and as a city.
Note: All cities have an ecological footprint. I’m not sure what the size of Garland’s footprint is or if it has been measured. If not, it should be measured and as a city we should have stated goals for its reduction as part of our long-range plan.