Patterson Park Community Garden Status Update

Written by Mark Smolen, Patterson Park Community Garden Task Force

The Patterson Park Community Garden was first envisioned in 2010 by a group of neighbors living in the vicinity of the park who are passionate about growing food, and the Community Garden Task Force has been working on it steadily since then. The group intends to develop a garden that provides recreation, exercise, affordable organic food, social activities, and educational opportunities not only for its subscribing members, but also for the surrounding community.

The garden’s latest design proposes the garden be located on the Southeastern edge of Patterson Park, and is currently going through the neighborhood approval processes. The initial proposal for the garden was approved by the Cherrywood and Wilshire Wood/Delwood 1 neighborhood associations, as well as the Upper Boggy Creek contact team (representing six area neighborhoods, including Cherrywood and WW/D1).

However, continued opposition to the garden by a few neighbors has forestalled approval from Austin Parks and Recreation Department and led to the latest proposal in an attempt to mitigate some of their concerns. The new proposal increases the number of plots from 45 to 60, and allows for the allocation of a greater number of community plots for the benefit of local area food banks and individuals who may not be able to afford the modest anticipated annual fee.

The layout of the latest proposal is shown in the drawing below. This proposal has already won support from the WW/D1 N, and is slated for a vote from Cherrywood and Schieffer/Willowbrook. Our goal is to have the neighborhood and city approvals in place in time for Spring 2014 fundraising and groundbreaking.

Our plans include:

  1. Organizing and maintaining a responsible group of gardeners who subscribe to our vision;
  2. Establishing best practices for organic gardening based on feedback from existing community gardens;
  3. Holding community events throughout the year, including potluck meals using produce from the gardens and garden demonstration days during which members will share their knowledge of composting, soil biology, integrated pest management, seasonal crops, gardening tools, recipes, construction techniques, native plant life, pollinators, and more;
  4. Planting and maintaining native plants around the perimeter of the garden to attract butterflies, bees, and birds and to make the appearance of the garden more pleasing to the public
  5. Picking up and composting neighborhood plant waste, when appropriate;
  6. Providing additional “eyes” for Patterson Park to guard against vandalism and other inappropriate behavior in the park;
  7. Maintaining community plots for local food banks and the Ronald McDonald House at Mueller

Gardening promotes many health benefits, physical as well as mental and spiritual, through manual labor, the cognitive challenge of learning to grow food, and the satisfaction and delight when the senses are stimulated by the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feel of growing plants. Beyond these immediate benefits, community gardens also help their members reduce their carbon footprint by growing food which would otherwise need to be trucked to a local grocery store. Properly designed community gardens can also be wildlife habitats, attracting bees, birds and butterflies by providing the three basic necessities of a habitat: food, water, and shelter.

The Patterson Park Community Garden can provide all of these benefits, nourishing the bodies, minds and friendships of our community for years to come. Come to the Cherrywood general meeting tonight at 6:30, at Asbury Servant Church to help bring this dream to fruition.

CAD Drawings Patterson Park Drawings Community Garden proposal August 2013

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