Oct 19, 2022 - Things to Do

Community garden gets makeover

Photo of wildflowers growing in front of a pavilion.

Westbury Community Garden's wildflowers for the bees and butterflies. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

Urban Harvest, a Houston nonprofit that works to create access to healthy local foods, partners with local community gardens and corporate sponsors to clean up and renovate gardening spaces.

Driving the news: Urban Harvest and Block to Block — vodka company Love, Tito's program to create community farms and gardens — upgraded the Westbury Community Garden on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Community gardens provide access to food — especially at a time when there's increased food insecurity with inflation and climate change.

  • Plus: In food desert neighborhoods like Westbury, where there is little to no access to healthy food options and the majority of residents live in apartments, community gardens provide fresh fruits and vegetables and an opportunity to learn how food grows.

Flashback: The 7-acre garden was supposed to be turned into apartments 13 years ago, but the residents advocated for the growing space in exchange for $1 per year, according to Ray Sher, who founded the garden.

  • The community garden now has 60 members who utilize the 62 raised beds and care for bee apiaries.

What they're saying: "Volunteer days are very necessary for these gardens to be sustainable. They can get out of control very easily," says Randall Mosman, Urban Harvest's community gardens and outreach manager.

  • "So we try to come in so people don't feel overwhelmed and so they can continue gardening, because urban growing is very important."

How it works: Urban Harvest teaches students and adults how to grow food; offers seeds, small plants and trees to its 182 affiliate community gardens; plans volunteer maintenance days; helps launch more community gardens; and works with local farmers for the weekly Saturday farmers market.

  • Love, Tito's Block to Block provided funding for the supplies and manpower for volunteer days.

Zoom in: At the Westbury Community Garden, volunteers cleaned the beds, added mulch, worked the compost, cleared the pathways and planted new fruit trees after the 2021 freeze killed many of the existing trees.

Go deeper: Get involved with a local community garden near you.

Photo of volunteers cleaning the garden beds.
Volunteers refreshing a garden bed. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

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