Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Austin’s Urban Farms Need Your Voice November 18, 2013

I’m hoping to return to my regular food blogging very soon, but today’s post is about food on a grander scale, and certainly way more important than what I’m growing, eating, canning or where I’m eating out.

The City of Austin has been in the process of updating the Urban Farm Code for nearly a year.  A small, very vocal  activist group  is waging war on the farms, in the name of commercialization of the East Austin neighborhood where they have quietly (and organically) farmed for years.   As far as we know, one neighbor had an issue with one farm, months ago, which started this whole process, and the complaint has long since been corrected and no longer exists.  The farms have many happy and supportive neighbors who love having green space, a place to gather, and local produce, dairy, and proteins from neareby ranches, available for purchase.

I recently heard allegation is that the farms have events that are too expensive for the neighbors to attend.  As the Vice President of Green Corn Project, a non-profit who holds it’s annual fundraiser at Boggy Creek Farm, for which we charge $35-$40 to attend, I’d like to report that this year we raised nearly $18,000, which will enable us to install and maintain organic food gardens for residents, schools and community centers  in East Austin, and other low income neighborhoods, as we’ve done now for 15 years.  The other farms host fundraisers for a variety of non-profits, including the Sustainable Food Center, Urban Roots, Food for Life, and have raised at least $100,000 in 2013 alone.  Much of this money goes to directly benefit these neighborhoods.

We have a website,  where you can read up on the issue, sign as a supporter, and stay up to date.  There is also a Facebook Page and invitation to come to City Council on Thursday, 11/21/13 at 3:30, and sign up to speak in support of the farms, or merely sign in showing your support.

If you’d like to read about the farms affected, they all have websites: Boggy Creek Farm, Springdale Farm, Hausbar Farm, and Rain Lily Farm.

With more and more news about GMO’s, Monsanto, Pink Slime,  recalls, exploding watermelons and all other scary news about our food supply, local, organic produce has never been more important – at least, to me.  (very enlightening  TedX Talk about our food supply here)

As a long time Tarrytown resident (since 1990) I would do anything to have an urban farm next to me.  The lot next to my house has been vacant for about a year, and soon to be a McMansion, I’m sure.  Plus, the soil in West Austin is inhospitable for growing food, which is opposite of the East Austin Blackland Prairie soil.   I’d rather live next to this.

Hausbar crops

Hausbar crops

Springdale Flowers

Springdale Flowers

Broccoli at Boggy Creek Farm

Broccoli at Boggy Creek Farm

Rain Lily Farm

If you’d like to read the proposed changes to the existing Urban Farm Code,  they are here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxzylTILPsr2M1NVMHVYNUZ0TzQ/edit?usp=sharing&pli=1

Please ask the City Council to vote to approve the Urban Farm Code updates, as passed by the Planning Commission, at their meeting this Thursday, 11/21/13.

 

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