Archive for Meeting Minutes

Working Agenda for Upcoming Mtg.

November 8th 2010

  • Discuss giving input about the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Coordinator FTE job description, hiring process
  • Other updates related to FTE/City Code Ordinance status
  • Review call blitz to City Council members/ City staff
  • Continue planning the 2011 Austin Community Garden Tour and cross promoting with other urban agriculture tours going on next spring
  • Check in about the long-term/ongoing goals of the CACG (tracking document)
  • Check in about other action items from 10/11/10 meeting
  • Discuss migration of material from Google group to Wiki

September 2010

  • Deloney Garden Water Issues: Email sent from Simon to Nathan on 8/9/2010
  • Update from about City staff about City community garden resolution: City staff will make recommendations to City Council for new ordinances relating to community gardens at upcoming City Council meeting. Review ordinances, discuss next steps, any necessary actions to move things forward.
  • South Austin Community Garden’s Situation: Strategies to avoid move?
  • Comments

    Letter of Resolution

    January , 2009

    The undersigned organizations and supporters are requesting your support for community gardening in Austin.

    Community and home gardens are an essential part of a vibrant, livable, and sustainable city. They offer space where residents can grow their own food, thereby reducing the use of fossil fuels and the amount of pollution emitted as a result of transporting food great distances. Community gardens also allow those that live in apartments or have a shady yard to grow fresh, healthy food. Community gardens help to unite neighborhoods, contribute to neighborhood beautification, and connect urban dwellers with nature. They facilitate communication, foster intergenerational and cross-cultural connections, encourage physical activity and provide therapeutic benefits. The impact of these spaces is immeasurable and invaluable.

    The number of community gardens in Austin is small compared to other cities of similar size. The high cost of starting a community garden, limited financial assistance, and few to no incentives for sustaining a garden on private property combined with development pressures are putting community gardens in Austin in jeopardy. Therefore, we believe that the City of Austin should adopt several policy initiatives to promote the development of new community gardens and to preserve and enhance existing community gardens as follows:

    · rewrite the City code to support the development of community gardens and allow a community garden anywhere in the City of Austin be designated a Qualified Community Garden (see attached for recommended changes to City code Chapter 8-4, 25, and others);

    · streamline the process to establish community gardens on public property;

    · designate a single-point of contact amongst city staff for community gardens (this could be the same person who supports the Sustainable Food Policy Board);

    · ensure that area community gardens are represented on the newly formed City and County Sustainable Food Policy Board;

    · provide assistance or incentives to neighborhood groups that establish community gardens with respect to liability insurance coverage, the installation of water infrastructure and fencing, and water rates;

    · amend the City code to provide tax breaks and other incentives to private property owners whose property is used as a community garden;

    · ensure community gardens are an allowable use in every zoning category and setbacks;

    · include plans for composting centers at neighborhood and community gardens in the Austin Zero Waste Plan.

    Thank you in advance for your continued support of community gardening in Austin. We will be contacting you in the next two months in order to further discuss these issues.

    Sincerely,


    Coalition of Austin Community Gardens
    Sustainable Food Center
    Austin Parks Foundation
    Sunshine Community Garden
    Blackshear Community Garden
    South Austin Community Garden
    El Jardin Alegre Community Garden
    Alamo Community Garden
    Clarksville Community Garden
    Good Soil Community Garden
    Deep Eddy Community Garden
    Windsor Park Community Garden
    Homewood Heights Community Garden

    Comments (3)

    CACG Goals & Strategies

    Coalition of Austin Community Gardens

    Goals & Strategies

    Session Objective: Create a plan of action to: 1) identify and mobilize City resources; and, 2)  strengthen policy initiatives for community gardens in Austin.

    Goals

    Strategies

    Immediate

    Intermediate

    Long-term

    Revitalize and expand existing and establish new gardens in the Austin community.

    1. Review existing research and conduct feasibility study for land resources.

    2. Identify and contact neighborhood associations.

    3. Outreach to stagnant gardens.

    1. Inventory existing CGs, and possible garden sites, potential partners.

    1. Estimate cost of starting a new community garden.

    2. Outreach to those interested in starting a community garden.

    1. Create (at least 3) new gardens within next year. (do we need to identify areas to target?)

    2. Mobilize community support to create a victory garden. (who? how? logistics?)

     

    Establish and maintain a working relationship with city government to leverage resources.

    1. Identify city leadership and familiarize ourselves with the process.

    2. Research the issues and develop concrete requests.

    3. Identify pre-existing opportunities.

    1a. Revise Letter of Resolution

    2. Schedule meeting with Council members (Present Letter of Resolution, PARD agreement, Rules/contract, Brochure)

    3. PARD consent to Rules and Contract

    1. Create educational process (campaign?) for policy makers about importance of community gardens.

     

    Establish a communication network between gardeners.

     

     

    1. Establish an electronic communication mechanism.

    2. Create a repository for best practices.

    3. Formalize the communication network (e.g. coalition, association, etc.)

    1. Create internal and external listserv

    2. Populate website

    1. Create step by step guide on how to create a community garden.

    1. Establish ambassador program to help other groups start CGs.

    Comments

    This website is under construction

    The Coalition of Austin Community Gardens is thoroughly updating this website. A new version of the site will launch in early 2017. If you would like to preview the new site and provide your feedback, please join us Dec. 6th from 6-7pm at Sustainable Food Center (2921 E. 17th St., Building C., Austin, TX 78702).

    Alternate Date, Location for September CACG Meeting: 9/27/16 at Deep Eddy Community Garden

    Join us for this another Coalition of Austin Community Gardens panel discussion on alternate date Tuesday, September 27th, from 6:00-7:30pm . The topic is Raising Poultry at Community Gardens. This event replaces the regularly-scheduled September CACG meeting, which would land on the third Tuesday of the month, 9/20/16.

    Chickens enhance food gardens enormously: they help with pest control, provide an abundant source of organic fertilizer, and delight the gardener with a steady supply of fresh eggs. Learn how to bring these benefits to your community garden from Michelle Hernandez, founder of the Funky Chicken Coop Tour and Phil Wiley, Sara Mills, Flo Rice, and Ila Falvey, all of whom manage chicken coops at community gardens.

    Panelists include:

    Registration not required and as always, the discussion is free.

    When: Tuesday, September 27th, from 6-:30pm

    Where: Deep Eddy Community Garden 300 1/2 Atlanta, Austin, TX 78703

    Directions & Parking Instructions: Park on the street near the garden.

    Facebook invitation: https://www.facebook.com/events/290897497936188/

    A couple of notes: Seating is limited, so please bring your own chair. To protect the health of the Deep Eddy’s chickens, we’ll have a shoe-washing station set up. Please wear shoes with soles that you’re okay with scrubbing with a mild vinegar solution.

    Thank you! Please help spread the word!

    10/19/15 Coalition of Austin Community Gardens Meeting

    The October Coalition of Austin Community Gardens meeting is tonight at Sustainable Food Center! Austin gardeners will share ideas and insights from the annual American Community Gardening Association conference and Meredith Gray will provide information about the Wildlife Austin program and how to incorporate wildlife habitat at community gardens.

    5/18/15 Panel Discussion: Administrative Best Practices & Volunteer Management at Community Gardens

    Join us for this month’s Coalition of Austin Community Gardens meeting Monday, May 18!

    This month’s panel discussion topic is Administrative Best Practices & Volunteer Management at Community Gardens.

    A community garden is basically a small, volunteer-run organization, and it takes management for a community garden to thrive. Learn from experienced community gardeners and professional volunteer managers about what records are essential to keep and strategies for keeping them; effective tools for communication; and how to motivate and organize volunteers at your community garden. Panelists include: Alexandra Castañeda, Festival Beach CG, Sabrina Joplin, Adelphi Acre CG; Mark Thomasson, Clarksville CG; Paula Arciniega, SFC Volunteer Coordinator; and Rebecca Saltsman, Keep Austin Beautiful Community Programs Manager.

    Facebook invitation: https://www.facebook.com/events/1596159530630016/

    When: May 18, 6:30pm-8pm

    Where: Sustainable Food Center, 2921 E. 17th St., Bldg. C, 78702 (at MLK and Alexander)

    Directions & Parking Instructions: SFC is located near the MLK MetroRail stop at Alexander St. and E. MLK Blvd. Heading east on MLK, take a right at the flashing yellow light at Alexander. You’ll pass the MetroRail station and will see People Fund up ahead. SFC’s building is directly behind People Fund. There is plenty of free parking around the SFC building.

    Notes from Managing Pests & Invasives Panel Discussion 4/20/15 at Sustainable Food Center

    Panelists: Ila Falvey, Sunshine Community Garden, Dwight Littleton, It’s About Thyme, Zach Herigodt, Yard Farm, Kellyn Smith, Travis County Master Gardeners Association.

    Moderated by Meredith Gray, City of Austin Sustainable Urban Agriculture & Community Garden Program

    1. What can you recommend for controlling Bermuda grass at community gardens?

    Ila: It’s very hard to manage. It grows in sunny spots.  You don’t want it in your garden or paths. It can take over if left alone. The only way to get it out is to dig it up. Tilling is a bad idea because it can break it up and cause even more growth. You can also take 5-6 sheets of newspaper, wet it down, and put it on top of the Bermuda grass. This won’t kill it, but it slows it down. Once dug up, its okay to go in a compost pile if it will heat up hot enough to destroy it.

    Kellyn: Creating barriers (for example, cardboard) helps and landscape fabric can help but once it breaks through, you have to replace the fabric.

    Dwight: You just have to dig it out. Take a cheap steak knife and dig down about 4” to uproot it completely. Vinegar can scorch and halt growth, but it will also scorch everything else growing, so it’s best to dig it up.

    Zach: Commercial grade landscape fabric, unavailable in big box stores, is effective. It’s spun fabric, not woven. Fabric is okay to use in pathways, but it should also be covered with at least 3” of another material (mulch, granite, etc.) Stay on top of pulling it up. Late March/April is when it becomes active, so the best time to sheet mulch is then. It’s dormant in the Fall, so that’s not a good time to mulch over it.

    Solarization may also be effective: this is when you take a large sheet of plastic (used or new) and spread it over a patch of Bermuda grass and seal it from air getting in. If you do this in the May/June timeframe, it will get hot enough to cook and kill the grass.

    There’s an organic systemic herbicide that has recently become available as well (systemic means it gets into the plant’s “veins” and kills it from the inside), but it is still expensive and difficult to find. It’s also broad spectrum, so it will kill everything growing around it.

    Ila: Solarization is hard to do effectively because it kills microorganisms in the soil and is problematic if it rains.

    Kellyn: In her experience, solarization attracts fire ants and doesn’t kill Bermuda grass, but does kill other weeds.

    Zach: Bottom line is that there is no magic bullet, and you need to try several different strategies to control Bermuda grass.

    1. What do you do about fire ants?

    Kellyn: Molasses! It adds microbes to the soil and chases the ants off. Spinosad is also a natural deterrent. Whatever you use, you should apply at least a week before you plan to work the soil.

    Dwight: There’s a new product by Fertilome called “Come and get it” which ants will take to the nest and it will kill them (rather than just displacing them.) It’s very effective but not very affordable. You can also dig up the ants and remove them on your own.

    Kellyn: Pouring hot water in the mound is effective if you dig down a bit first so that you’ll be sure to hit the queen.

    Zach: Orange oil is cheap and effective.

    Kellyn: Molasses is even cheaper.

    Dwight and Kellyn: Beneficial nematodes also work. But note that the soil must be kept moist or they will die. These should also be applied in the evening/night.

    Zach: Boric acid and diatomaceous earth also work. If you dust the mound with these products, the ants will dissipate.

    Kellyn: But those products will kill beneficial bugs as well. If you use molasses, it should be sprayed over ALL of the soil even if it’s not infested. It can also be sprayed on plants.

    (Question from audience: how do you find the center of the ant mound?)
    Kellyn: Start digging and pay attention to where you see most of the ants coming from. That’s where the queen will be. Walk away for a while, then come back with hot water or other method to take them out.

     

    1. What tips do you have for controlling poison ivy?

    Dwight: Dig it up! Don’t wash whatever you are wearing when you dig it up. Just throw it out, or it will spread the oils to your other clothing. Also don’t burn the poison ivy!

    Kellyn: Use an old bread bag or some other plastic bag over your hands/arms when you are digging it up, and throw them out when you’re done.

    Zach: Poison ivy only grows in the shade. You have to dig it up. The best way to treat rashes on your skin is to use dish soap on it several times a day, that will dry it out. Definitely take care of poison ivy before it gets too hot outside, because your sweat will break the barrier of protection. The best way to get rid of poison ivy in my experience is with machinery.

    Meredith (and audience): Deer, chickens, and goats will also eat it.  You can cut off the leafy parts and go back a few days later to apply citrus oil to kill the rest.

     

    1. Experiences with pests during different planting seasons?

    Kellyn: A lot of snails during rainy seasons, but pests usually go with the plants (cabbage worms during cabbage season, for example.)

    Dwight: Spring is when the harlequin bugs come out. Pull up cabbage-family plants to get rid of them.

    Kellyn: Stink bugs are important to treat at first sight. Copper fungicide can kill them if they’re still small. So will insecticidal soap and Spinosad.

    Zach: Stink bugs are getting worse every year. My favorite way to treat is a homemade spray with crushed mint, garlic, and pepper.  Also, artichokes are a great trap crop for stink bugs. They love artichokes. So do snails.

    Ladybugs are good bugs and you can tell them apart from similar bad bugs (cucumber beetles) because they are round and don’t have a pinched body.

    http://bugguide.net/ is a good place to go to identify bugs

    Snails are easy to trap with beer. Kellyn recommends putting some in a large yogurt container. Be sure to kill them/empty daily. The round shell snails are bad, but the conch/swirl shelled snails are okay.  Generally, if you see both, you should get rid of all of them.

    Kellyn: The best way to prevent squash vine borers is to bury a barrier about 1/2″ down around the plant base when the plant is small. A plastic or cardboard cylinder will work.

    Ila: Squash vine borers are almost inevitable. Successive plantings can help you to get a lot of squash before it’s all killed by vine borers. One variety of squash that tolerates them well is zuchetta. It grows rampantly and is always putting down new roots, so it will continue to grow. It also takes up a lot of space.

    Kellyn: Row covers also work. If you make it to hot weather (June/July) without the vine borers, they typically won’t be an issue. They hate the heat.

    Zach: The most important thing to remember when treating pests is to treat the right pest. A great resource to help is the Travis County Master Gardener hotline. They are quick to respond, and they are funded based on how much work they get, so use them! They can be reached at 512.854.9600 (ask for the Master Gardener Desk). For more information about the Travis County Master Gardeners, visit : http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/travis/master-gardeners/

    1. Any other preventatives to mention?

    Zach: Diversity and sanitation are important. Plant diverse plants to invite beneficials. Stay away from mono-cropping. Grow as much flowering material as possible and get a good food chain going.  Parsley, dill, and cilantro are great once they flower/go to seed, so let them go.

    Kellyn: Build a bug hotel. Consider companion planting, which only really works when you have a lot of both companion plants. Sometimes it’s good to let another plant become a “sacrificial lamb” and become the haven for pests. Be careful when using (organic) pesticides, because they kill beneficials too.

    Lemon balm, lemon grass, marigolds, and any citrus-smelling plants are helpful to deter pests. If you are using these around your other plants, one won’t do, you need to box the plant in to completely eradicate. This is usually impractical, but planting some deterrents will definitely help.

    Dwight: The best defense is healthy plants. Pick tomatoes as soon as they start to blush.

    Ila: Khakiweed is another weed that is almost worse than bermuda grass, get rid of it too!

    2015 Panel Discussion Series

    Starting April 20th, we’ll dive into the 2015 series of panel discussions about topics of interest to community gardeners. Speakers on each panel will include longtime community gardeners and community experts on the topic to be discussed. If you’re knowledgeable about any of the topics listed and would like to serve as  a speaker, please contact sariATsustainablefoodcenterDOTorg.

    All panel discussions will take place 6:30-8pm (during the Coalition of Austin Community Gardens meeting time) at Sustainable Food Center, 2921 E. 17th St., Bldg. C, 78702 (at MLK and Alexander).

    Directions & Parking Instructions: SFC is located near the MLK MetroRail stop at Alexander St. and E. MLK Blvd. Heading east on MLK, take a right at the flashing yellow light at Alexander. You’ll pass the MetroRail station and will see People Fund up ahead. SFC’s building is directly behind People Fund. There is plenty of free parking around the SFC building.

    Date

    Topic

    April 20, 2015
    Managing Pests & Invasives at Community Gardens, Facebook Event
    May 18, 2015
    Administrative Best Practices and Volunteer Management at Community Gardens
    September 21, 2015 Fundraising, Grant Writing, and Accepting Donations and Services for Community Gardens, Facebook Event
    November 16, 2015
    Children at the Community Garden

    Community Garden Tour Saturday 10/25

    gardentour

    Community gardening is on the rise in Austin!

     Join the 2014 Community Garden Tour

    Saturday, Oct. 25th, from 12 – 3 pm.

    This free, friendly-to-all-ages, open-house style tour provides the opportunity to visit an inspiring array of gardens throughout the Austin area where participants are growing food and growing communitytogether. Get on your bike, in your car, or on your feet and check out this showcase of urban food-growing strategies! Enjoy visiting with gardeners, kids’ activities, and the opportunity to get your hands dirty by helping at a work day along the way: Adelphi Acre Community Garden is breaking ground on Saturday as well!

    To join the bike tour, please meet at Blackshear Community Garden at 2011 E. 9th St. at 12 pm.  We will bike 6 miles (approx. 32 minutes total).  Route maps will be handed out on site.   The bike tour will visit Blackshear Community Garden, Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church Garden, Good Soil Community Garden, Homewood Heights Community Garden, Boggy Creek Farm, and will culminate at Festival Beach Community Garden.

    For more detail and bike route, visit here:https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zTGw0wAgEtzY.kccje7hmGth8

    Tell your family and friends… Austin’s got it GROWIN’ ON!

    Presented by: The Coalition of Austin Community Gardens, Sustainable Food Center, and
    City of Austin Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden Program

    logos

     

    Blackshear Garden Work Party and Plant Sale 3/9

    Join us at Blackshear Neighborhood Garden Saturday March 9th from 2-5pm for our big spring work party! We will be giving the garden a facelift after a long winter and getting new seeds and plants in the ground.

    We are also hosting a Plant Sale! Lone Star Nursery will be delivering a wide variety of veggie starts available for purchase at the garden. Everyone is welcome to come check out their selection and stock up for springtime. Join us at 2011 E. 9th Street for this great opportunity.

    Free Hugelkultur Workshop Sat 2/16 12n-2pm

    If you’ve noticed Wintertime on the wane and are hankering to get your hands in the earth again, come on and join friends of Blackshear Neighborhood Garden at the

    FREE HUGELKULTUR WORKSHOP!

    hugelkultur_how_to_image
    During the 2 hour workshop with experienced hugelkulturist and urban homesteader Matt Hollon you will:
    -Understand the methods of water-conscious hugelkulture bed construction.
    -Install a hugelkulture bed from start to finish at the 9th Street Schoolhouse in east Austin.Date: Saturday, February 16
    Time: 12 noon – 2pm
    Location: 2006 E. 9th St.
    Cost: FREE
    Wear sturdy shoes, gardening clothes, and bring a shovel if you have one.

    CHILDCARE PROVIDED by GrowinTogether after school program!
    Coffee, tea, and snacks provided for your refreshment!

    Sign up by RSVP’ing to the facebook event page or email caitlin.macklin@gmail.com
    Hope you can join us!

     

    Blackshear Garden Potluck & Party Sunday 6/17

    You’re invited to join the Blackshear Gardeners and Neighbors for our quarterly potluck and party!

    This Sunday 6/17

    6pm potluck

    8pm live music by The Cans and My Neighbor Nancy

     

    What to Bring:

    a dish and/or drinks to share

    your own place setting

    a chair if you’d like

    Click here for the facebook event page.

    We hope you can come out to meet neighbors, enjoy the garden, and check out our projects: rainwater collection, sustainable building techniques, chickens, shared garden rows, and compost.

    Email caitlin.macklin[at]gmail.com with questions.