City Hall v. Gardeners

Remember this trailer for The Garden documentary, which was all the buzz in the online garden world for awhile? That story seemed a world away… until today.

See, it appears that my fellow garden lovin’ Texans up in Dallas are fighting City Hall for their own community gardens–and urban chickens and many of the other grassroots efforts at sustainable food–in the midst of a major recession. Not quite the same sitch as what happened in LA with The Garden, but still troubling. The big concern in Big D is that a heavy-handed ordinance could kill growing enthusiasm for urban gardening.

In the words of my high school French teacher, “We are not amused.”

From what I understand from a reliable source in the DFW area, the proposal is back in committee for revisions, but there aren’t enough people on the council who “get” it.


City Hall Continues to Bury Community Gardens Under Permits and Procedures (Dallas Observer blog, 8 May 2010)
Community Gardens Issue Plowed Again Today at Dallas City Hall (Dallas Morning News blog, 10 May 2010)

THE TAKE AWAY: What you can do about it

If you’re in Dallas, contact City Hall.

• If you’re in Texas, call/email/text/tweet your like-minded friends in Dallas and tell them what’s up. Ask them to take a stand for self-sufficiency and self-reliance and make a call. (Oh, and get ’em to join with you to sign the brand-new Dig for Texas petition while you’re in a huff, which is designed to foster awareness statewide for home and community gardens.)

• If you’re elsewhere, spread the word about what’s happening here via your networks and blogs, be they rooted in Slow Food, gardening, #realfood, community gardening, yardsharing, urban chickens, or what have you.

Perhaps if the Dallas city council realizes that cities like San Francisco and Chicago and New York City–all places that Dallas deems as peers–have a progressive, open-minded approach to community and urban gardens, there’s a chance that they’ll gain a clue.

Hey, it’s worth a shot, right?

Explore More:
• Chicago Park District Community Gardens, where you’ll read this:

Visually, the community garden can reflect the health, unity, creativity, beauty, culture and diversity of its community. Physically, the community garden can become a natural outdoor gym, where lifting, bending, pulling and pushing all promote muscular and cardiovascular activity. Socially, the community garden can bring neighbors together who once were complete strangers by providing a setting for acquaintances to become friends. Mentally, the community garden is a safe place for residents to grow and connect with nature and its provisions through caring for ornamental and edible plants.

• America’s Premier Urban Farmer is San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom, where you’ll read this text from a city of San Fran press release:

“Urban agriculture is about far more than growing vegetables on an empty
lot,” said Mayor Newsom. “It’s about revitalizing and transforming unused
public spaces, connecting city residents with their neighborhoods in a new
way and promoting healthier eating and living for everyone.”

The American Victory Garden, Past and Present (my own Google Knol), which gives a summary of America’s commitment historically to grassroots self-sufficiency.

• I’m not sure if this makes me feel better or not, but there’s a group, Urban Farming Advocates, in LA fighting city hall right now, too. Could this be a trend?

• If you need me, I’ll be cheering myself up reading about the goings-on at Peterson’s Garden in Chicago, where Alderman Patrick O’Connor is enthusiastic for community gardens.


  1. You are right about City of Dallas politics and gardening does not mix. I dont know what there problem is.

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