It's not even open and the Garland Community Garden is already producing--in fact, it's probably been producting for about 40 years.  The Texas Native Pecans in the bowl above came from one of the pecan trees on the proposed site for the Garland Urban Agricultural Center and Community Garden.  I picked them myself this morning and they are delicious.

11 People Showed Up at My Home Last Night (October 24, 2013)--I rounded out the count for an even dozen!

Charlie, Christine, Margie, Robert, Anita, Marie, Yolanda, Sandy, Daniel, Maq Sooda, Mark and me.   Robert Opel (a photographer, graphic artist and member of our planning committe) took photos of the group.  I'll post it here as soon as I get a copy from him.  Perhaps after you see how good-looking we all are you will want to join too.

Assignments were taken and our next meeting will be Wednesday, October 30, 6:30 at my home.  If you are a Garland resident and would still like to be on the Planning Committee for our Community Garden, we still have 8 places left.  Even after that, there will still be room for participation as each of these 12 to 20 members of the planning committee will be forming groups to accomplish their tasks.  I'm sure they will need all the help they can get.

1.  Obtain estimates for obtaining gravel for roadway on site.  - Charlie took this action item.

Note:  The walking paths between the beds will be mulch.  This gravel is for a roadway around the building and also for two small parking areas.  We currently plan to be able to park about 40 vehicles on the site.  When/if we have events there, we will work out something with the neighbors to park along the first two blocks of Kingsbridge since it is a wide street.

2. Cost to build sixteen 4' x 18'x 2' high beds--including wood and soil.  Anita

3.  Rain barrel and aquaponic setup research. - Mark jumped at the chance to do this one.

Also at the meeting, Charlie and Margie brought up two other possibilities for our water supply. Margie mentioned there is an old abandoned well on the site.  Perhaps we will be able to restore that well to its old glory.  Also Charlie mentioned that we might be able to pump water out of the creek and store it for later use in the garden.  We will have to check this out as diverting waterflow from the creek might affect lake levels elsewhere in the county.

Tonight Charlie and I plan to attend a Water Harvesting lecture at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch.  Nate Downey, Landscape Design Expert and author of "Harvest the Rain" is the speaker for this two-hour presentaton about the emerging water harvesting industry.  For more information

*4. Design a 20 x 20 Outdoors Enclosure for Classroom - (Assignment TBD)

Perhaps a recycled carport roof.  Also 30 chairs suitable for outdoor use and a white board.

*5. Greenhouse Research - (Assignment TBD)

Research cost for building an 18' x 30' greenhouse or hoophouse.

6. Website - Christine and Robert

We can have Facebook and Twitter, but we also need a website.

7. Fundraising - Liz

Many people are afraid to ask strangers for money.  I'm not.  I'm already working on our first fundraiser which will be ongoing from now up to Thanksgiving.  We will sell one-pound bags of these pecans in their shells for $3 a bag--a bargain if you consider this will help to fund a great venture to be used by all the citizens of Garland.



Buy Texas Native Pecans for your special holiday baking and support the development of the Garland Urban Agricultural Center and Community Garden!  

Note:  I'll work with Margie.  Also I'll contact Cleo Holden, president of Friends of Olde Downtown Garland.  Maybe Cleo will have some old photos when houses were still on this land or know of someone who does.  I would love to know and even obtain a photo of the person who planted these trees.  Robert (on our Planning Committe) has also promised to assist with the graphics.  Perhaps this Saturday I'll round up a few citizens  from 2 to 4 to help me gather the first batch.


The upcoming fundraiser for December will be the promotions of the Garland Bamboo Tea Company.  Then in Spring 2014 I hope to coordinate a DFW Community Garden tour for early June that features as many of the DFW Community Gardens who wish to participate.  I'm also hoping to publish a book (local Garland publisher) with photographs and stories of these gardens.  I'll begin organizing this fund-raising event in February.

Of course in between all this will be applications for Grant fundings which I will spearhead.  I hope to secure at least $100,000 for our Urban Agricultural Center by March of 2014.

8. Find out the steps we must take to set up as a nonprofit entity. - Marie Lowry

*9.  Affordable Housing - (Assignment TBD)

The need for affordable housing is great in Garland.  Over one thousand people are on a waiting list on the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.  Affordable housing is just another aspect of healthy, sustainable living.  I would like to see a small (300 to 500 sq ft) home built on our site as a demonstration model.  These homes can be built for as little as $29,000.  I would like to see a local builder take interest in this concept and build five such homes on a common green (of course with a community garden).  Perhaps if one such home were built for demonstration, people could tour it. Then if they decide they would like this for themselves they could sign up, get local funding and the builder could build 5 homes at once--micro villages.  To get an idea of the structure of these homes, visit Tumbleweed Houses.

The goal of the Garland Urban Agricultural Center is more far-reaching than merely providing garden plots for individual citizens, although it is that too.  Our goal is to enhance the quality of life in our community, bring people together to solve local problems and to create jobs and strengthen our local economy by learning together new ways to solve old problems.

 *10.  Research steps for creating a Woodland garden in part of the Garland Community Garden.  (Assignment TBD--although Charlie did take home one of my books on the topic last night.)

Instead of battling against nature, the woodland garden works in harmony with it.  It comes down to selecting the right mixture of species from among approximately 2,100 that can be grown in the woodland.  Unlike the traditional gardens that we will also have, we won't have to replant our woodland garden area year after year because it contains perennial plants.  There are many more perennial edibles than many people realize.  

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