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Installation of the Garland Community Garden Little Free Library – May 12, 2017 - If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. – An African proverb

The group in the photo above attended the installation of the Garland Community Garden Little Library this morning.  Ana Maria DeYoung, President Garland Flamingo Neighbors  (at the left in white) and Jane Stroud, President Loving Garland Green (in the green shirt near the center) were the two “movers and shakers” who made the Library happen.  But there were also lots of people and connections that were also part of this story:  There were the folks at the Garland Neighborhood Vitality Department, who had access to the discarded Newspaper rack that they shared with us; there was the man who painted the rack and put the Flamingo and Loving Garland Green logos on it; and there were the citizens who donated the books and magazines to get the library going. And there will be the citizens who come to borrow and give to the Little Free Library and sustain it through their participation. 

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Charlie Bevilacqua, one of the founding members of Loving Garland Green, puts some Smithsonian Magazines that he brought into the Garland Community Garden Little Free Library and Ana Maria DeYoung adds a book about chickens.

Yes, this morning we installed a Little Free Library down at the garden. I can’t think of a more perfect place for a Little Free Library than the Garland Community Garden. Like our garden, the Little Free Library also reflects permaculture principles of sharing and reusing/repurposing things—both concepts central to the healthy and sustainable community.  

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.  The Little Free Library is a free book exchange.  The general idea is that you bring a book and take a book.  As of November 2016, there were 50,000 registered little free libraries and no two are exactly alike.  You can find one near you by selecting this link: world map of Little Free Libraries.   Here in Garland we have three now that I know of:  One on Orchard Hill, one in the Camelot area, and now one at the Garland Community Garden. 

Ana Maria's grandson relaxes in front of the latest little free library in Garland Texas--made possible in large part by his grandmother.

We have registered the Garland Community Garden Little Free Library with its parent nonprofit organization and will be receiving our official number and license plate in the mail soon.  When it arrives, we will put it on our Little Library.  When folks visit the world map of Little Free Libraries, the Garland Community Garden will be on that map—thus we have helped to put our lovable city on yet another world map.

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Sir Albert Howard and Jerome Irving Rodale – Pioneers in organic gardening would have most likely approved of Little Free Libraries.

The Pioneers in Organic Farming Were Right

As I culled through my books and magazines earlier this morning to see what I would like to donate to the Garland Community Garden Little Free Library, I was reminded that making the choice to organically grow some of the food we eat has implications that ripple out to all aspects of one’s life and community—influencing not only our choices for the food we eat, but also many of the social aspects of our lives as well.

One of the magazines I came across was a special collector’s issue of ORGANIC GARDENING.  This issue contains stories about all my favorite organic pioneers—from Ruth Stout to Michael Pollan. There is a photo of J.I. Rodale and a quote from him on the cover.  In May of 1942 he said:  “One of these fine days, the public is going to wake up and will pay for eggs, meats, vegetables, etc., according to how they were produced.”  I would say that day has arrived.

 It’s somewhat ironic that Rodale (originally with the last name of Cohen) from the Lower East Side of New York City would become such an important leader in the organic agricultural movement. In fact, Rodale is the one who used the word “organic” to label the ideas that Sir Albert Howard wrote about in his classic An Agricultural Testament.  Sir Howard did understand that his concept was the basis for a revolution in lifestyles extending beyond agriculture but he didn’t provide the label that would promote his ideas. 

Sir Albert Howard (b. 1873 d. 1947) worked in India as agricultural adviser and was in charge of a government research farm at Indore.  Howard supported traditional Indian farming practices over conventional agricultural science.  He has been called the father of modern composting as he refined a traditional Indian composting system into what is not known as the Indore method.  His book, An Agricultural Testament, is a classic organic farming text aimed at the general public.  He advocated studying the forest in order to farm like the forest.  Understanding the interface between ecology and agriculture was especially important to him.

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