Garland Citizens Support Urban Agriculture as an Economic Reality Now
The citizens of Garland are working hard in concert with our community leaders to explore all the possibilities that urban agriculture can bring to our community. Some citizens such as Melyssa Childs-Wiley, Director of Fat Lady Foods, LLC shown above are already realizing the dream of earning their livelihood on the shovels of local urban agriculture. Melyssa's company is now three years old. Fat Lady Foods is a perfect example of how urban agriculture can be a boon to a local economy. The fruits she uses for her jams and jellies she purchases from local farmers--many of them local urban farmers who grow fruits and berries in their own yards. In addition, she uses a local commercial kitchen to cook up her product. Most of the dollars used to create, distribute and purchase these products stay to be recirculated in the local economy.
Garland Citizens and Its Local Government Support The Garland Community Garden
The Garland Community Garden, stewarded by Loving Garland Green, is at the forefront in our community when it comes to promoting urban agriculture as a way for individuals and families to supplement their incomes and to stretch that tight dollar bill. As Rosiland Creasy (an organic gardener from California) demonstrated in 2008, a family can stretch their food budget by $700 a year with a small 100 square foot garden. Others tell us they add as much as $25,000 a year to their family budgets--just by selling seedlings from their driveway. Although the Garland Community Garden has yet to realize its first birthday, we were still able to illustrate the potential dollars and "sense" of urban agriculture last year. For example, we illustrated there is money to be made from growing and selling loofahs in our community. We raised about 24 of them out of one five gallon bucket. Half of them were distributed among members and the other half were sold at the Garland Marketplace at $2 each for a total of $24--proof of concept for the loofah market here in Garland. I kept track of the blackberries I grew and harvested in my yard. At the end of June, according to local market value for these berries, I would have earned $175 from the sale these berries. There are four bushes that are planted two to a four by four foot raised bed. In other words, 32 square feet was all that was required to grow the blackberries. Grapes that I grew in only 16 square feet yielded a crop with a market value of $65.
This year we have many experiments happening down at the garden. We hope that you will stop in and visit and be inspired to join us. For example, we have expanded our loofah project. This year we are constructing a loofah tunnel--sixteen feet long, four feet wide and five feet tall. There will be a butterfly garden, a Children's Garden, a medieval herb garden, a Three Sisters Garden, an old fashioned watermelon patch and many edibles that perhaps you never heard of such as "bitter melon" that come to us from our immigrant community members.
Garland Citizens and Our Parks and Recreation Department Honor Our Ecosystem that Once Was
Our community has many citizens and groups who are working hard to bring back pieces of our great Blackland Prairie--many of whom are our own city employees. This vast prairie once stretched from the Red River on the north southwesterly to San Antonio. Today, its is estimated that less than 1% of the vast prairie land remains. Garland is a metropolitan area in Dallas county where you can see not only one, but two examples of what this area looked liked over 100 years ago.
In tribute to Garland Parks and Recreation Department as well as to the citizens who belong to a group called the Preservation Society for Spring Creek Forest, we at Loving Garland Green (stewards of the Garland Community Garden) are promoting their work by planting a small plot demonstrating the plants that were found in our almost completely destroyed original ecosystem. Also at our small example we will provide signage directing our visitors to seek out these other locations in Garland where they can see a wider expanse of what was once our great prairie.
In case you don't want to wait for us to install our bed at the Garland Community Garden (which likely won't be ready for demonstration until the end of April) these other two address and related information are provided below.
Rosehill Park and Spring Creek Forest Preserve
This 75 acre prairie is located north of Country Club Road across from Lyle Middle School in Garland.There is a good diversity of native grasses and forbs, including Indian Grass, Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Eastern Gama, Side-oats Grama, and Threeawn.
Address: South Country Club Road, Garland, TX 75043
Spring Creek Forest Preserve
And there is a group (Preservation Society for Spring Creek Forest) that supports these efforts.
Their next meeting is Tuesday March 3
7 PM at North Garland Library
3845 N. Garland Ave. (at Apollo Rd.)
Garland, TX 75040
You might be advised to call to receive more information on Preservation Society membership and Spring Creek Forest --972-205-2750.