Saturday, November 27, 2010

Community gardens sprouting up in yards

Updated: Tuesday, 23 Nov 2010, 5:33 AM CST
Published : Tuesday, 23 Nov 2010, 5:15 AM CST

If mowing the lawn is too much of a hassle a new organization is encouraging residents to grow community gardens.

"We have an enormous front yard and we didn't know what we wanted to do with it," said Joshua Merritt, homeowner.

Merritt thought about landscaping - but when he heard about Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms he changed his mind.

"We use yards where people don't want to garden on their own, or don't want to mow anymore or pay someone to mow," said Paige Hill, Executive Director Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms. "We come in and turn that into growing space for food."

Paige Hill otherwise known as Farmer Paige started the organization and turned her backyard in the Skyview neighborhood in Central Austin into a large garden.

There's also chickens for fresh eggs. But the idea for creating these gardens is to bring neighbors together.

The landowner gets a portion of the harvest as well as volunteers who help tend the garden.

"We set up a farm stand in the neighborhood so anyone can come along and volunteer for their veggies or buy their veggies," said Hill.

"A lot of these neighborhoods in Austin are becoming more in the true sense of the word," said Merritt. "More and more young families are looking at this as a place to raise their children."

And that's led to a new push to get neighbors to grow more than just vegetables but grow a sense of community.

"How much more local of eating can you do than something that came from your house, your yard, or from someone in your neighborhood that's the beauty of it," said Merritt.

Right now there are 10 Urban Patchwork farms in six neighborhoods within the city of Austin.

If you think you would like to use a portion of your yard to grow a community garden you can learn more about the program here .


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