October 8, 2014 - Several of the people who attended the installation of the Garland Community Multicultural Commission plot at the Garland Community Garden pose for a photo.
The Installation of the Garland Multicultural Garden Plot was a success!
This warm, friendly and personal event was well-attended by people representative of many cultures in our community. It was an informal event where guests paired up with various members of Loving Garland Green and toured areas of our Garland Community Garden. Charlie Bevilacqua, one of our board members, assisted guests who wanted cuttings of our citronella plant, red okra and loofah while other members chatted with our guests to the garden.
Jennifer Nguyen, Chair of the Garland Community Multicultural Commission, presented Loving Garland Green with seeds from plants that we don't normally see on the seed racks in our local stores--a reminder to visit our Asian markets here in Garland too. Malabar Spinach, Kohlrabi and Bitter Melon.
There was no lack of photographers at the event. In addition to members of Loving Garland Green we also had people from VietFace TV who were there documenting the event. (Jennifer Nguyen, Chair of the Garland Multicultural Commission is also featured in the photo below. Jennifer is wearing red.)
This commission is an advisory group to the City Council who serve as an advocate for creative and full inclusion of all Garland residents so as to enhance the quality of life for all. Loving Garland Green is proud to join the Commission in promoting and celebrating our City's rich assortment of cultures. This plot will feature plants that many of us may never have heard of. Plant diversity, like people diversity, is essential to the health and food security of any community.
Gotu Kola was among the plants installed yesterday evening in the new multicultural garden plot.
Gotu kola is a plant that grows naturally in Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and many parts of South Africa. Its dried leaves and stems are used in herbal remedies. The active compounds in gotu kola are called saponins, or triterpenoids. Gotu kola has a long history in the folk medicines of India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar and is still widely used in these countries today. It has been used for generations in India to promote relaxation, improve memory, and aid meditation. In traditional Chinese medicine, the herb is believed to promote longevity. The Chinese name for gotu kola translates to "fountain of youth." A Sri Lankan legend says that elephants have long lives because they eat gotu kola.
A commonly used green in Sri Lanka (daily in the diets of many people in Sri Lanka) this green can be served as a salad or as porridge. The plant is a perennial and grows like a weed. It dies back in the winter and returns in the spring. It can easily be propagated by division during the summer and will root at the nodes. It is a low growing creeping plant which can be used as ground cover.
Kaushalya Siriwardanda, a member of the Garland Community Multicultural Commission and founder of Helping Hands, brought the gotu kola plant from her garden for installation.
A recipe using gotu kola is featured on the sign for this new site:
GOTU KOLA SALAD
One bunch of Gotu Kola chopped (about three cups)
Six shallots chopped
Three finely chopped green chili peppers
Two tablespoons fresh grated coconut
Half teaspoon lime juice
Half teaspoon ground pepper
Salt to taste
Wash the Gotu Kola and chop finely. Set aside.
Chop the shallots and green chili.
In a medium bowl mix gotu kola, onion, green chili, grated coconut, pepper and salt Lastly add lime juice and mix again.
Contact Loving Garland Green: If you have relocated here from another country and are currently growing edibles or flowers at your home that are not native to Texas, please call us at 972-571-4497. We would love to have some seeds or transplants from you for this garden plot.
The Garland Community Multicultural Commission is another group worth checking out. Their mission is to maximize the potential inclusion and quality of life of all citizens in the City of Garland by identifying issues and making recommendations to the City Council concerning the City's changing demographic composition and diverse needs. Visit their website at the City of Garland website. Their meetings are open to the public.
OUR GARLAND COMMUNITY MULTICULTURAL COMMISSION IS NOT LIMITED TO GARDENING.
They also host one of the most special events of the year here in Garland.
Be sure to mark your calendar for Saturday, November 1! The 2014 Mosaic Festival is a celebration of our city’s cultural diversity! Enjoy music and dance from around the world. This free event provides an opportunity to foster greater understanding, appreciation and respect for cultural diversity. The event is Saturday, November 1 on the square in Historic Downtown Garland from 9 am to 2 pm.