Ask a Question forum: Conducting Sustainable Urban Gardening Research

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Austin, TX
trw8108
Nov 13, 2017 2:44 PM CST
Hey y'all!

I am an urban studies major in college conducting local and national research into sustainable edible gardening/growth in urban areas. Our goal is to provide information and education for healthier living and combat food deserts. I have to wait to post my survey but wanted to ingrain myself into the community while I wait.

I am a college student at the University of Texas at Austin, currently living with my high school sweetheart wife and our 3 dogs. We prefer to grow spicy peppers, cilantro, and other herbs for the most part. However, we are looking to expand our gardening efforts in the future to include cucumbers and other veggies. Really looking forward to having a citrus tree also!

Also, please don't hesitate to message me if there is anything I can do for you.
Name: Liz Shaw
Gilbert, AZ (Sunset Zone 13) (Zone 9a)
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LizDTM
Nov 13, 2017 8:09 PM CST
I'm very interested in your study. I work with previously homeless people who are still extremely low income. I wish I could get our agency to allow us to have a community garden. I will follow your progress with great interest.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -AnaΓ―s Nin
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Nov 13, 2017 8:31 PM CST
I am interested also.

In my former home town (in California) we tried to start a community garden at our church but got no takers as it was too far off the beaten track even though it was very close to downtown (in a very small town).

Several small neighborhood groceries were forced out of business as quickly as they started because the Regional Transit went to Walmart. We found a lot owned by a parishioner on the main street in town but couldn't convince the city to change the zoning to allow 'farming'.

Here in Reno, my daughter wanted to turn an un-used tract of land owned by our Church into a community garden but liability insurance wouldn't allow it. Next, she said she would be the sole 'farmer' but then the Church bulked as they didn't want the expense of building planter boxes. She said she would find her own funding and was only asking for water and their blessing. Neither were forthcoming.

The best part is that the Church in my old town did put in water but we couldn't find 'farmers'. A few of us from the Church put in a garden outselves and harvested about a ton of produce every summer for 5 years (until I moved, then the project fell apart). We donated all our produce to the local food bank.

Did you ever hear of the Victory Gardens that people grew in any available spot during WWII? I'm too young but I have seen the photos (from family albums) and heard the stories (grandparents) and I have a couple of the cookbooks that came out of those gardens (Thank you, Grandma, for saving them).

My point is that your biggest obstacle will be getting people invested in the whole thought process. The question will not be about logistics.

Please keep us posted on your effort. I look forward to your results.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Nov 14, 2017 6:37 AM CST
Welcome, and good luck with your project and ideas and your own garden Smiling
Society has changed so much since Victory Garden times. There just doesn't seem to be the same willingness to do garden work or to do the harvesting and food prep work on the end result. My co-worker was arguing that people with yards should be required by law to grow some food. Yet she has a yard available, works part time, and doesn't grow anything Confused Shrug! She'd rather sell with a 'party' type marketing vendor, posting on facebook, than spend time gardening.

Don't discount the effect of human nature; some people just don't want to do certain things that might mark them as "desperate". Read Cotton Tenants by James Agee to explain it better. Handmade corn hats that the author thought quite crafty were looked down on as marking one as really poor (not store bought).

..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Nov 14, 2017 10:06 AM CST
I love growing things, mainly vegetables. Vegetable gardening is a hobby you have to have a love for. The miracle of a little seed, growing into a plant that produces all kinds of fruit or vegetables.
It takes time and effort.
It's to easy to to buy the stuff at store. Why waste there time to grow it ? People have time and effort, but have higher priorities. What are there priorities ? Why ? Are they so busy ? Why are they so busy, that, family's can't/don't even get together for the holidays ?πŸ€”???....
Improper use of cell phones, computer's. In one BALL ! The : INTERNET #

Cell phone rings. It's more important then a one on one conversation, they go walking away.

There so busy they don't have time to call you and have a conversation. Ya, text em, ( Hay, call me. ) They text ya back. WARNING, WARNING ### DONT TEXT EM BACK !!!
Is texting a relationship ???

Social Media !!! Face book, Twitter, etc, etc !!! Humm ?πŸ€”??? What's a good word for that ? CRAP, JUNK, no no no. POLLUTION ###

Thats my opinion.

SOLUTION : Zachary Smith, orders the Robot. ' DESTROY THE INTERNET ! '

Ta Ta
😎😎😎






Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Nov 14, 2017 11:46 AM CST
Don't know how you would contact them to interview to ask questions and advice, but there are two gardens not far from me; I live in Savannah, Georgia.

In the midtown area, there is a wonderful space called the Miracle Garden. Here is a link to their Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/Midto...

In a much more affluent area, there is Skidaway Farms, a community garden open to residents of Skidaway Island (lots of big money is behind this project and it costs about $200 a year to enjoy having a plot for the year.)
http://www.skidawayfarms.net/

Another group who might be willing to offer advice, believe it or not, would be your local beekeeping association. They can offer advice about planting to attract pollinators to your garden.

Whenever I see the need for 'human participation' to get the ball rolling, I advise checking with your local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. There are often scouts trying to earn badges and they are up for the challenge - and they travel with adult supervision.

I remember very well my grandfather's Victory Garden in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The garden was started before the war but was still growing strong when I was a child. His entire backyard, with the exception of a 6-foot by 8-foot plot of lawn, was devoted to growing food and medicinal plants. They also kept chickens and (way out back) a hog.

The initial effort in any garden project is the hardest part. First one needs to find a piece of land suitable and get the legal paperwork done. Once the garden has been designed and installed, there is less work to do and it can be done by a smaller group of people. Offer to feed them! Folks are more likely to volunteer if they can get a cookie. Thumbs up

If you do not already have seeds for Papalo, I'd be happy to send some to you.
Good luck with your project! Hurray!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Nov 14, 2017 12:07 PM CST
The way I understand it, a Food Desert is an area without easy access to groceries and fresh produce. Its not really about starting a Victory Garden but is about making affordable nutritious food available without an hour bus ride to Walmart. The tricky part will be getting people (consumers, government and businesses) onboard with the concept of neighborhood groceries and inner city farmer's markets.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Nov 14, 2017 12:10 PM CST
Here in NYC there are lots of urban gardens. Sometimes we have to fight to keep the developers away though. Lots of people with sunny backyards (not necessarily common in NYC) have gardens and grow food. I find that anyplace that has a lot of immigrants will have lots of gardens. In lots of other countries it is very common to grow some of your own food. Immigrants bring that tradition with them and pass it on to their kids. If you are looking at cities in general I'd focus on those communities with lots of immigrants if you want to find some growing produce.

However, if you are educating people please tell them not to plant in the soil! Many immigrants don't realize how polluted the soil in cities can be. Raised beds may be more expensive but are definitely the way to go. Flowers (not for eating) can be grown in the dirt.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
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greene
Nov 14, 2017 12:48 PM CST
I totally agree with @bxncbx about not planting in contaminated soil. One community park had a play area for children, but it was discovered that the soil contained lead so the park was closed. Some for one community inner-city garden, closed due to contaminated soil.

For the past 22 years I have been using raised bed gardens and NOT the native soil.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Nov 14, 2017 5:04 PM CST
Speaking about affluent suburban farming....
http://serenbe.com/about

Austin, TX
trw8108
Nov 16, 2017 12:34 PM CST
Thank you all for the very thorough answers and extremely warm welcome! I'm really looking forward to learning a bunch from y'all.

As promised here is the survey I would REALLY appreciate if y'all could fill out. Hurray!

Update:
I still can't share the link for you all. Is there an exact amount of time I'll have to wait or do I need to just be more active in the forum?
[Last edited by trw8108 - Nov 16, 2017 12:36 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1587256 (11)
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
Deer Bookworm Keeper of Poultry Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Georgia
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greene
Nov 16, 2017 1:26 PM CST
Just keep making posts and soon you will pass the required time.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Nov 27, 2017 9:29 PM CST
trw8108 said:Hey y'all!

I am an urban studies major in college conducting local and national research into sustainable edible gardening/growth in urban areas. Our goal is to provide information and education for healthier living and combat food deserts. I have to wait to post my survey but wanted to ingrain myself into the community while I wait.

I am a college student at the University of Texas at Austin, currently living with my high school sweetheart wife and our 3 dogs. We prefer to grow spicy peppers, cilantro, and other herbs for the most part. However, we are looking to expand our gardening efforts in the future to include cucumbers and other veggies. Really looking forward to having a citrus tree also!

Also, please don't hesitate to message me if there is anything I can do for you.


Its a good line and I fell for it hook, line and sinker. This is nothing more than a way to sell you whatever this guy is selling.

There is no Urban Studies major, just a pitchman.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Dec 3, 2017 11:40 AM CST
My thought on this, being a former resident of Austin, is that it's unbelievable that anyone would have a hard time starting or joining a community garden in Austin.

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