Meeting Minutes

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Working Agenda for Upcoming Mtg.

November 8th 2010

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?
  • 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

    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.