Gardeners In Community Development

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A Dallas Area Community Gardening Program

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Live Oak Community Garden 

corner of N. Fitzhugh and Live Oak

Live Oak Community Garden

Started: 1992; rebuilt in 1994-95 and in 2011-12.

Size: 4 vacant lots with about .39 acre in production

Number of plots: 27 family plots and 4 plots for food pantry donation, each about 10 x 30 feet. 

Gardeners: the early garden was primarily older generation Cambodian refugee families, today there are also  families from Republic of Congo and Bhutan.  Total 13 families.

Type of garden: diverse ethnic and local crops.  Marketing has been part of this garden since its founding.   Vegetables are sold through family and community networks, at the East Dallas Community and Market Garden one block away, and at various neighborhood and farmers markets. 

Visiting: to visit contact GICD . Usually this garden is kept locked.

History (written September 2012)

A Refugee Garden and Market Project

       The Live Community Garden began in 1992, as a project of the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT).  The first  gardeners were organized by Grace Methodist Church in East Dallas, and named the Open Door Garden.  This early group comprised  Cambodian and Laotian families that came to the U.S. as refugees in the 1980’s.  In 1994, Gardeners in Community Development gained oversight of the garden, and combined training and organization with the East Dallas Community Garden.  From that time until the present, both of these gardens became intensive sustainable production sites that specialized in growing traditional Asian vegetables and herbs and marketing them through family and community networks or to the public at the East Dallas Community Garden Market.   

In 2010 the garden land was gifted to Gardeners in Community Development by CFT.  Around this time many Cambodian gardeners because of age and illness had to stop gardening, and others found adequate space in the East Dallas garden.  These vacancies, along with the fact that about 1/3 or the site lacked soil or was shaded by huge overhanging trees, made it possible to plan a much needed redevelopment.  With the help of the International Rescue Committee, ten refugee families from Bhutan were brought into the project.  In collaboration with the American Community Gardening Association, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi “Giving Through Growing” donated funds to buy new bed frames, soil and compost, paid for Bobcat work to change contours, and provided some of the tools, seeds, and other garden supplies.  The Bhutanese gardeners and community volunteers labored hundreds of hours over many weeks through the heat of summer to dig out trees, rocks and roots; moved compost and mulch; built beds; and carried out many dumpster loads of trash.   

The amazing results of this community’s hard work in transforming the Live Oak Community Garden can be seen today.  Families are growing an abundance of healthy food for themselves and their community, donating some to food pantries, and selling some to make a few dollars.

 

 

 

 

Last edited 09/26/2012 Contact GICD