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SFC’s next Community Garden Leadership Training 6/16/12!

Find out how to contribute to the economic, social, and environmental vitality of your neighborhood by starting a community garden. In this workshop, we will cover:

– Community Organizing
– How to Secure Land
– Garden Organization Structures
– Fundraising & Community Outreach

We will also take a tour of New Day Community Garden, led by one of the community garden coordinators. This garden was started on the grounds of the Baha’i Center.

There is a high interest in community gardening in Austin, and very limited spaces available at the current community gardens. Come learn about how we can work together to start more gardens!

Registration is required for this free class. To register visit this link.

Questions? Contact Josh at 236-0074 x105 or josh (at) sustainablefoodcenter (dot) org.

When: Saturday, June 16, 9:00am-1:00pm  
Where: Austin Baha’i Center, 2215 E.M. Franklin Avenue, Austin, TX 78723

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3rd Annual Austin Community Gardening Tour

Join us for the 3rd Annual Austin Community Gardening Tour on Saturday, April 28th, from 12 – 4pm.  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 community together. Get on your bike, in your car, or on your feet and check out this showcase of urban food-growing strategies! Enjoy instructional talks, celebrations, kids’ activities, and the opportunity to get your hands dirty by helping at a work day along the way.

The tour is followed by a Celebration of Community Gardening at Kenny Dorham’s Backyard, 1106 E. 11th St., from 6 – 9 pm.  Enjoy local food at a p•tl♣ck picnic and learn what’s been going on in the world of community gardens over the past year from the City and Coalition representatives. Then dance to infectious beats from The Flyin’ A’s under the light of a moontower.

Click here to read more…

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Check out for upcoming gardening events!

February 25th garden expansion at Gateway chruch.

March 31st grow-together film will be played at the Attic Film festival at the St. JOhns For The City Building. 

March 10 th community party at Capitol Village apartments.

For more info go to:

We are also looking for a bi-lingual garden leader to help us out at our Food pantry at Gateway Church. The food pantry hours are 10 am until 12 pm every Wednesday.

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Upcoming Events at Blackshear Neighborhood Garden

New garden work day hours for fall/winter: Sundays 2-5pm. Want to garden but can’t get a plot? Sign up for a monthly shift in our shared community rows.

Cob Wall Workshop sponsored and taught by the fine folks at Design~Build~Live! Saturday November 12th 9am-5pm. Learn about this sustainable building practice while contributing to our garden’s kid play space. Go to to register or contact Caitlin for more information.

Our quarterly Garden Dinner will be November 19th at 6pm. Please join us for fellowship and good times in the garden. Bring a dish to share and your own place setting.

December Work Party will be Saturday Dec. 3rd 9am-1pm. The Urban Farm Tour will roll through then as well, so come be part of the magic! Projects on tap: Solar Panel Mounting and Compost Pile Reorganization.

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Workshop by TCMG on Bio-Intensive Gardening

We had a successful workshop at Blackshear Garden Saturday 10/8/11 on Bio-Intensive Gardening. Big thank you to Rosalie, Joe, and the rest of the Travis County Master Gardeners who made this free workshop possible. Folks from all over town came to learn about adapting this method of gardening to the Austin area. It was really great to learn from experienced Texas gardeners, and to make connections with other folks who grow food.

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A message from South Austin Community Garden gardeners

The gardeners at the South Austin Community Garden (SACG) wish to inform you that the SACG was closed at the end of August 2011.  The SACG was formerly on Salvation Army property, which was recently purchased and will be developed into condos.  The developer is Terry Mitchell of Momark Development, who is locally well known and most recently worked on The Austonian (here is a relevant article from a recent issue of the Austin Business Journal:

The silver lining is that the Galindo Neighborhood Association and developer negotiated and signed contractual paperwork to establish a new community garden on another part of the property.  We are unsure when this will occur; however, SACG members were informed it could be as soon as next year.  A number of SACG gardeners hope to resume gardening at the new community garden when it is up & running.  Meanwhile, SACG gardeners plan to continue meeting and maintain and post updates to the SACG website at Thanks for your support.

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Grow Together Community Garden : Preparing for Growth!


1. Untreated cedar wood for Gateways garden. Someone has donated soil we just need untreated cedar to put up the the raised beds. If you are redoing a deck or fence and your old wood is untreated cedar this wood would be perfect for our raised beds at Gateway.
2. An invitation for people to join us out in the Garden. They can call me at at 816-835-9839 or email me at, Facebook (Growtogether)or the LOOP to get plugged in. We meet at the Gateway Food Pantry Wednesday from 11:00 am until 1PM.  We meet at the Refugee garden at 7pm at Capitol Village Apt. 6855 E. Highway 290 Austin, TX 78723.
3. And people can donated money to the refugee water expense at Mobile Loaves and Fishes website and clicking Donate go down the programs and click Karpophero and send an email to stating their donation is going to the refugee garden.
4. Chef Chris will be coming in Wednesday during the Food Pantry hours showing people how to prepare and cook the veggies from the garden. All of our educational programs are free/gratis so take advantage of it.

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Grow Together Monthly Meeting

Grow Together Monthly Garden Meeting

4:00 pm Saturday, July 16, 2011 at Gateway Community Church Garden

Topic: Very Important Garden Meeting – Getting ready to expand Gateway’s garden for the end of September/ October and aiming for a total of twenty raised beds.

A Big thank you to Jamie Soma, Keep Austin Beautiful and Organics by Gosh for donating and delivering 8 cubic yards of soil/compost mix for the 14 additional beds that are being built this fall!!  You all are awesome!

Items Still needed for donation this fall:

  • Untreated Cedar
  • A couple of boxes of 2-1/2” deck screws
  • Wildlife netting

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2nd Annual Austin Community Garden Tour

communitygardentour_fb_bannerPlease join the Coalition of Austin Community Gardens, Sustainable Food Center

and the Congress for New Urbanism in celebrating the growing number of community gardens in our city at the Second Annual Austin Community Garden Tour, to take place Sunday, May 1st from 10am – 4pm. The Community Garden Tour is a free, open house-style tour providing the opportunity to visit each of these unique places, talk to the gardeners there, learn how to get involved, and maybe even get inspired to start your own.  We hope you’ll join us in celebration of these community spaces for locally grown (and self-grown!) food in Austin. A downloadable/printable map of participating community gardens and additional details are available on the Tour page.

We’ll close out the tour with Community Gardening in Austin: A Panel Discussion and Local Food Potluck from 6 – 8:30 pm at 5604 Manor (home of the Workers Defense Project, the Third Coast Workers for Cooperation, and Third Coast Activist Resource Center).  Speakers will share information about the current landscape of community gardening in Austin, the work they are doing to make Austin a more community garden-friendly city, and what you can do to get involved. Bring a dish made with locally grown food, as well as your own reusable plate and utensils, and join in the celebration! Space is limited, so if you’d like to attend the Panel and Potluck, please click here to RSVP via Facebook. You can also RSVP for the Austin Community Garden Tour here via Facebook.  If you are not a member of Facebook RSVP for the events here.

Click here for more information…

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Act NOW – Tell the City of Austin to Support Community Gardens

After more than 2 years of advocacy work by the Coalition of Austin Community Gardens and Sustainable Food Center, the City of Austin is about to make it easier for community gardens to proliferate and thrive in this city–let’s show them we support this move!

The City will hire a Conservation Program Coordinator (and Administrative Assistant) who will be responsible for making it easier to start community gardens on City land in Austin, and who will work to improve the sustainability and strength of our local food system. Let’s let City staff and Council Members know that we strongly support the creation of the Conservation Program Coordinator and Administrative Assistant positions, and we’d like to see them filled as soon as possible.

City Council will also vote THIS THURSDAY, February 10th on whether to pass ordinances to substantially improve the way the City manages community gardens and to make it easier and more affordable for community gardens on City and private land to install water infrastructure at their gardens. Let’s let our Council Members know how important it is to us that they pass this amendment!

**Please Note**: We encourage folks to attend the Council meeting on Thursday the 10th. Please understand that these items are currently on the consent agenda, meaning they are on the fast track to being approved at the meeting.  If two or more individuals sign up to speak on a consent agenda item, the item gets pulled from the consent agenda and goes into the general meeting. This means items will be up for general discussion along with a list of many others, and items could get pushed off of Thursday’s agenda if discussions on previous items run long. Thanks for your support!

***Sample text for email***,,,,,,,,,

Subject: Support Community Gardens

To City Council Members and Staff,

Community gardens are essential components of a vibrant, healthy, and sustainable city. I strongly support the hiring of a full-time Conservation Program Coordinator and part-time administrative assistant to support the proliferation and sustainability of community gardens and other urban agriculture in Austin. I also wholeheartedly support the passing of the City Council ordinances relating to community gardening and other urban agriculture that are on the Council agenda for review Thursday, February 10th. Thank you for all that City Council and staff has done in support of community gardens in Austin leading up to now!

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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:

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:

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. 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 :

  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.



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


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:

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



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


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
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] with questions.