Grow Austin Weird
Austin, Texas, like many other cities, is experiencing rapid changes: the population in Austin’s downtown area is expected to more-than-double within the next twenty years. Centrally located residential communities are developing rapidly to accommodate this growth and many of Austin’s communities lack sustainable initiatives to accompany their growth. In order to effectively reduce the strain on the environment today and into the future, it is critical that we incorporate sustainable practices into our modern, urban lifestyles. As urban sprawl continues and more green space becomes consumed with buildings and parking lots, the need for the creation of gardens increases.
The new gardening program of AGA encourages the inclusion of an environmentally
sustainable activity—gardening—into Austinites’ daily lives. The Grow Austin Weird
(GAW) program, which draws inspiration from Los Angeles’ Edible Estates project,
encourages Austinites to transform their spacious-yet-under-utilized lawns into creative
gardens that can provide aesthetic and environmental benefits to the surrounding
community—as well as a supply of fresh, healthy food. The goal of GAW is for members of
the community to achieve a heightened awareness of gardening’s environmental and social
benefits through their own experiences with gardening. GAW emphasizes gardens’ abilities
to beautify urban greenspaces, foster a greater sense of community, and demonstrate
Success to date
AGA has directly overseen the creation and documentation of four social gardens in four
unique settings, three of which are still in existence and in need of support:
Rosemont Garden Club at the Rosemont apartment complex involving residents and
the community center’s after-school program Enchanted Garden a garden space in the
Enchanted Forest artist community Dell Jewish Community Center Garden
in partnership with the Center’s Early Childcare Program.
Currently, AGA is poised to break ground on a new garden via the University of Texas
Campus Environmental Center Garden Committee as an opportunity to expose
their student group to a sustainable vegetable growing enterprise. In addition, two new
partnerships are being developed for gardens at the Austin Children’s Shelter and the
offices of American Youth Works. In addition to these new projects, AGA will be
working on new plantings and garden enhancements at existing garden sites as well as
development of a gardening guide and outreach to new partners.
Green Bench installed at the Dobie Middle School Garden by Scott Dubois, Austin Green Art, and the Sustainable Food Center. It is constructed from old wooden pallets, and Douglar Fir trees. The roof surface helps to water a loquat tree.