Loving Garland Green Board officers and board members: Carol Garrison, Charles Bevilacqua, and Liz Berry at Keep Garland Beautiful's Annual Trash Bash - November 2014.
Carol Garrison and Daniel Bell with their worm farm at a Garland elementary school. Education and learning with the community regarding the value of organic urban local food production and all its related activities such as rainwater harvesting, vermicomposting, and increasing our knowledge regarding permaculture principles are central to our activities.
Yes, Loving Garland Green is the group whose members are the official stewards of the only community garden on City property in Garland Texas. The Garland Community Garden is located at 4022 Naaman School Road (at the intersection of Brand and Naaman School Road). However, being stewards for our Garland Community Garden is only part of our community activities. We participate and support many community events.
We currently have over 1,500 square feet of garden beds down at the garden and plan to add 640 square feed before the end of the year. As for perennials, we have nine blackberry bushes, four blueberry bushes, two rosemary bushes, one fig tree, one pomegranate, three grapevines, one Santa Hoja, and numerous self-seeding annuals installed at the garden.
Here is list of just a few of the things we hope accomplish in the coming months:
1. Complete the build for the second row of beds in The Winding Garden (a planned section of garden plots totaling 160 feet long and four feet wide (640 square feet)
2. Add soil amendments to all the existing beds (about 500 square feet). Note: after completion of the second row of beds in the Winding Garden, we will have approximately 1,200 square feet of garden plots.
3.Design a rainwater harvesting system for the garden that will make it self-sufficient for at least 50% of its watering needs by the end of 2015. In Garland we have an annual rainfall of 38 inches. If our community had the proper rainwater harvesting systems installed throughout our municipality, we would not need to ration water. In the process of doing this, and in fact all our projects, we want to involve the local residents and learn together with them. One thing to remember about Loving Garland Green is that none of us consider ourselves as "experts." We are all learning together and sharing our knowledge as we gain it among ourselves and with our community.
4. Begin installing urban gardens in the homes of Garland residents at the rate of 2 a month starting in January of 2015.
5. Design and establish a program that will enable us to build at least two tiny homes on a lot here in Garland. These two homes would, of course, share a common garden.
6. Launch a program to support neighborhoods in building neighborhood community gardens. We know the closer a resident lives to a community garden, the more likely they are to participate in taking care of that garden.
NOTE: Our viewpoint of the community garden is somewhat different as we view the community garden as an experiment for people to learn about gardening and related "green things" such as composting and rainwater harvesting together. It is not simply a place where people rent a plot, and plant some vegetables. It is a place to learn about growing edibles by growing them. It is a community of people learning together and fully exploring all the possibilities that growing food locally offers for our community. All our members also have gardens at their homes.
7. Speaking of experiments, one of several that we are planning for 2015 is the Loofah and Hops Growing Adventure. We already know that we can grow loofahs in the garden as we produced no less than 20 without even trying hard. Loofahs, a type of squash that grows into a large fibrous sponge has commercial value in our community--that we also proved in 2014. In September at our local Marketplace on the Square, we sold 24 of them (6 cut into four pieces) at $2.00 each. We could have sold more if we had more.
As for Hops, we are still doing research on the types we will plant. However, with the rise of craft breweries, we think there may be a market for hops in our community as well.
Prior to 1941, we were a creditor nation with a national plant-based economy. After 1941 we began to move into the era of an oil-based economy. We forget that we can do everything and more with a plant-based economy than we can with an oil-based economy--including making plastics. In the late 1930's, Ford chemists developed a material that consisted of 70% celluose fiber and 30% resin. The cellulose fiber consisted of 50% southern slash pine fiber, 30% straw, 10% hemp, and 10% ramie. They used this plastic to create a car. The plastic material of this car could absorb blows ten times as great as steel without denting. Ford even demonstrated this by having men try to dent the vehicle with large sledgehammers.
I would like to see a company begin to create plant-based plastics today. If we used hemp and fast growing bamboo, we would not have to worry about depleting our forests.
Let's start rebuilding our economy locally--one plant at a time. Start experimenting in your own back yard. You may be surprised at the amount of plants you can grow. Growing plants is the next revolution and it has begun. Growing your own food is the fast track to freedom.
Stop looking for solutions to come out of Washington and start working with your local government to create a plant-based sustainable prosperity right where you live. Join Loving Garland Green and learn with us--how to grow plants and how to participate in your local economy and local government. Yes, you can do it by yourself, but friends will get you there faster.
We meet every Monday from 6:30 to 7:30pm at 216 East Kingsbridge Drive Garland 75040.