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Patches of wildflowers and clover are left for the bees in the meadow at the Garland Community Garden - 4022 Naaman School Road

Can you judge a community by how well its leadership supports Urban Agriculture?

Members of Loving Garland Green think so.  Garland Texas has many community gardens scattered throughout our city and even more citizens who are growing edibles in their yards.  However we have two gardens that I believe will become the two hubs for demonstrations of what citizens can accomplish in rebuilding the physical health of their bodies and the economic health of their local economy by growing edibles.  A plant based economy is a secure economy as it provides one product that will always be in demand--food.

Come see the Spiral Herb Garden built Saturday April 11, 2015.  We will soon be installing herbs in this garden.  Spiral herb gardens were built by monks in monasteries as early as the 14th and 15th centuries.  They are still today an efficient permaculture design that cannot be improved upon.

Garland Community Garden - 4022 Naaman School Road in north Garland

The one nearest to my home and heart is, of course, our Garland Community Garden which is stewarded by Loving Garland Green in partnership with our great Parks and Recreation Department who can give lessons in budget stretching and doing more with less as evidenced by their budget and the great parks and parks programs offered by our city.  This garden just celebrated our first year anniversary on April 12.  In one short year the garden has grown from one garden bed of 28 square feet to a total of 3,200 square feet of garden beds.

Just last night I got the OK from the Mayor's office to allow two beekeepers to install a few hives on the property.  This summer, when the weather allows, we will feature various outdoor gardening classes--most for children--down at the garden.

The  garden has many interesting features:  A Three Sisters Garden; a Loofah Tunnel; a Medicine Wheel; a small Butterfly Garden; a Spiral Herb Garden; a Children's Garden, complete with a magic carpet and a fairy house; an experimental lawn of Buffalo Grass; A Blackland Prairie Sampler; a Wishing Chair; and more.  Please come and see for yourself.

Last week Loving Garland Green had our first plant sale down at the garden.  Selling plants at prices ranging from $1 to $3, we made $412 from 9 to 2 on Saturday April 11.  Again, by doing, Loving Garland Green illustrated to our community the potential offered by moving to a stronger plant-based economy.  These were all seedlings grown by our members.  Entrepreneurs on the Internet report earning as much as $25,000 in annual supplemental income by growing and selling plants from their driveways.  Growing edibles is not only good for your waistline and health, it's also great for your wallet.

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Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agricultural Demonstration and Agricultural Research Project - Located behind the County Commissioners' Building on Rowlett Road in South Garland-  Plants are awaiting a new home in the garden.

Agricultural Demonstration Garden Located in South Garland

I guess I'll have to stop referring to the Garland Community Garden as "nearly new."  Our latest nearly new urban agricultural project in Garland is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agricultural Demonstration and Agricultural Research Project which is located behind the County Commissioners' Building on Rowlett Road in South Garland.  This is a great space that also has a large building that will be put to great use for gardening and hands on classes. The construction of this garden is less than two months old.  

Both of our Garland public gardens will require the support of community volunteers and donations in order to survive and thrive.  For the past few weeks I've dedicated my Tuesdays to working with Duddly Hargrove and Linda Barnes who are the two leaders for this project. Believe me, you will get back more than you give--just from the knowledge and experience offered by Duddly and Linda.  I always go away from a work session with much new knowledge that I can apply to my own personal garden as well as to our Garland Community Garden.

Linda Barnes at the Garland Community Garden Anniversary Celebration April 12, 2015 - That's the thing about gardens and gardeners:  we support each other in concert and not in competition.  Linda took time from her busy schedule to honor us at the Garland Community Garden by bringing us plants from her garden--beautiful iris and a pear tomato plant.

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PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY BY SUPPORTING OUR TWO GREAT PUBLIC GARDENS!

Write to Elizabeth Berry at eebemma@yahoo.com for more information about urban agricultural opportunities in Garland and how you might support them.

Note:  Loving Garland Green is currently seeking a large unused warehouse type building (about 1000 square feet) that we can use to create a Fallen Fruit Gleaning Program similar to those already successfully established in other urban areas such as Portland and Toronto.  This program would be designed to grow into a local cooperative that could eventually support perhaps up to 10 paying jobs in addition to the volunteer force.

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