I came across an interesting article this morning that was written a year ago by Peter Kageyama and appeared in the Minnesota Cities Magazine [Source: http://www.lmc.org/page/1/EmotionalTruthMayJune2014.jsp ]
Peter Kageyama, author of “For the Love of Cities” strongly advocates that people not only love the place where they live, but that government officials and leaders of communities start using the word “love” even in their official documents. In fact, I heard Mr. Kageyama speak in October of 2013 at the Annual Neighborhood Summit here in Garland. He was my inspiration for choosing the name “Loving Garland Green” for the organization here in Garland who are the steward for the Garland Community Garden and who advocate for urban agriculture as an industry here in Garland. Peter Kageyama argues that we tend to take better care of people, places and things that we love.
Garland's Mayor, Douglas Athas
In the article mentioned above, Mr. Kageyama refers to our Mayor Douglas Athas as “brilliant.” Of course, this is an opinion I share, but now I have one more reason to support my opinion of our mayor.
“. . . I met with Garland Mayor Douglas Athas and, as we talked, I mentioned that the cowboy hat claim was an interesting distinction for Garland. He smiled and said something that I thought was just brilliant. He said the cowboy hat capital distinction was “factually true, but not emotionally true.” He told me to look around as we walked through Firewheel Town Center, the city’s open-air mall. No one was wearing a cowboy hat.
Yes, Garland produces more cowboy hats than any other U.S. city, but to the average Garland citizen, it was not a day-to- day reality. It was not emotionally true to the people of Garland. Being to the east of Dallas, Garland did not have the same cowboy culture that exists in Ft. Worth. This was a point I did understand. I had been to the region before, and Ft. Worth, to the west of Dallas, has much more of the overt cowboy culture than other cities in the region. Dallas is a global business city, but Ft. Worth was once described to me as “a city of Texans.” [Source: http://www.lmc.org/page/1/EmotionalTruthMayJune2014.jsp ]
Garland is home to over 350 manufacturing firms. Thus, the slogan “Texas Made Here” is more inclusive and descriptive of our community.
Another thing about our community and its current leadership is they and many of our citizens participate in hands-on efforts to make our community better. Our mayor and our City Council members take time to listen to and consider ideas that arise at our grass roots level. I know this from first-hand experience with them. Mayor Athas has been supportive of Loving Garland Green from day one. Just a few weeks ago when members of the Loving Garland Green Sustainability Committee hosted a walk-through a neighborhood we have dubbed “Walkable Main Street”, Council member Anita Goebel who is the representative for the downtown area of Garland was on hand to walk side by side with this group.
Loving Garland Green's Role in Our Local Economy
Loving Garland Green is looking at this area, along with a growing number of Garland residents and outsiders, for its potential to be developed into one of the most unique mixed-use urban neighborhoods in the USA. Those of us from Loving Garland Green are particularly interested it for its potential to have urban agriculture as part of its industrial/residential mix.
We want to make sure that people realize the potential offered through the use of plants as products. The more our nation moves toward a health consciousness, the more important and valuable plants as raw materials for products will rise to the forefront. Agricultural products can be looked in much in the same way that any industrial raw material can be viewed—as potential to be packaged into something that can eventually be marketed and sold to the public. Plant products created by urban farmers and gardeners should be included in the mix of something to be “manufactured” within urban settings.
In our own particular area, the blackberry offers the most potential as a money-making agricultural product. If we got enough residents in Garland growing blackberries, we could eventually support several new businesses dedicated to using this raw material.
Join Loving Garland Green in Building the Vision with City Leaders
I invite all who are interested to review some of the documents in this document directory and get inspired. Think of what you might add and what you might bring to this venture. Then send your ideas to Mayor Doug Athas and Council Woman Anita Goebel. Let’s make the Walkable Main Street Village Happen. All of the documents in the document directory linked below are to be considered as brainstorming material to further discussion and promotion for the development of this urban area in Garland. None of these ideas have anyone's "official" approval. They have been created for inspiration and further collaboration.
A friend asked me yesterday if Loving Garland Green's involvement with this project is "reasonable." My reply was that if the criteria of "reasonable" were applied to any of the major human achievements of the past 200 years, we would have close to none today, including the automobile and space travel. Vision and innovative ideas push the criteria of "reasonable" further out. Many of the things not considered "reasonable" or "feasible" become everyday occurrences because a few people decide to push the boundaries of "reasonable."
See Documents Related to Walkable Main Project: