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Community garden idea in Abilene growing in popularity

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Sep 05 2012 09:32:51 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

For people who live in an apartment complex or do not have space in their yard, a community garden may be their only opportunity to grow fresh produce.  Until now, one thing has been holding back the community garden idea- a water meter. A city ordinance restricts the use of a water meter on a vacant lot, but now that could change.

Tuesday, the Abilene Planning and Zoning commission voted to recommend an amendment to the Land Development Code to allow community gardening.

"There are some vacant lots throughout the city that people have had interest in doing some gardening or growing some plants and fruits and vegetables," said Abilene Planning Services Manager, Ben Bryner.

One lot people have already started prepping for gardening is on the corner of Amarillo and South 19th Street. Members of Aldersgate United Methodist Church have been hoping to transform the vacant lot into a community garden.

"In a way, the garden really says what we wanna do. We want to grow in the neighborhood and this is a way with these vegetables that we can be there and grow to know the neighbors ," said Master Gardener, John Kirk.

Kirk said there is nothing like the taste of home-grown vegetables.

"If you grow your own you know what you have. It's as fresh as it's ever gonna be," said Kirk.

Kirk hopes younger gardeners will keep passing on what they learn.

"Hopefully we can teach them a little about gardening and then they'll grow older and they'll have gardens of their own," said Kirk. 

If the city ordinance is changed to allow for a water meter at community gardening sites, there will still be a few restrictions people must follow. Community gardeners could only build a storage shed on the location no larger than 200 square feet and would not be allowed to sell their produce on-site.