Find attached the new staff recommendation to the city Environmental and Transportation committee. This is option 6 and I STILL think they need to go back to the drawing board. In this option, chickens (and bees) will not be allowed and a permit and site plan will be required. The cost for the permit is $215/year. This is NOT the right option. We should not be charged for growing food. Please make you comments know to the following council members before Tuesday’s meeting:
Also, if you would like to speak at the meeting please include that in your comments.
Posts Tagged ‘Mariana Griggs’
This from our city’s Community Garden Coordinator:
Dear Community Gardeners and Supporters,
The official date has been formalized for the next Community Garden briefing to the Council Transportation and Environment Committee.
Please join us on Tuesday, August 10th between 2 and 4 pm. Public seating is on 6ES.
We hope to achieve a final vote from the Committee on this issue and move forward! Thanks for all of your support and interest along the way.
Closer to the time, you can view the briefing and agenda at: http://www.dallascityhall.com/committee_briefings/index.html.
In the future, if you have any questions about community gardens, contact the Office of Environmental Quality at 214-670-1200 214-670-1200 or GreenDallas@dallascityhall.com.
Outreach and Community Garden Coordinator
City of Dallas, Office of Environmental Quality
To learn how to build a greener Dallas, visit GreenDallas.net!
The weather is looking perfect for the upcoming “Spring Has Sprung Garden Ride”, this Sunday May 23rd starting promptly at 1:00pm in the Bishop Arts District!
Excitement is building for the best Bike Friendly Oak Cliff ride this year, and our community gardens are ready to possibly greet over 200 people expected to attend. There will be so much to see from home grown veggies to bees-scapes on this ride, so put on your suntan lotion, grease up your bike chain and crank it!
Here is the schedule in route order (all stop times are approximate):
12:45pm Rider’s congregate in Bishop Arts at the intersection of 8th and Bishop Ave
1:00pm Ride begins
1:15pm Arrive first stop: Community Garden of Cliff Temple
1:35pm Depart first stop
1:50pm Arrive second stop: Methodist Hospital System Garden
2:30pm Depart second stop
2:50pm Arrive third stop: St. Cecilia’s Community Garden
3:10pm Depart third stop
3:20pm Arrive fourth stop: Jefferson Median Project
3:40pm Depart fourth stop
3:50pm Arrive fifth stop: Urban Acres Farm Store
4:10pm Depart fifth stop
4:20pm Arrive sixth and final stop: Eno’s Pizzeria
Firstly, I hope that you are enjoying the wonderful weather this weekend. I have been working hard at planting lots of crops and the rain last night will surely help us all out. I am emailing you in hopes that you can join me for the next community gardens briefing in 6ESouth at city hall tomorrow from 2-4. Staff will be recommending “Option 4: Community Gardens by Right with Neighbor Input”.
Next, I would like to inform you of the possible setbacks to community gardens that this option will create. Obviously the members of city staff who have recommended this option have never tried to start a community garden themselves. Photos in the presentation were taken from internet sites such as TLC (Discovery, The Learning Channel). While I have learned a lot from the internet, about community gardens, I have learned more from all of you, and from myself too. Some examples include: 1. Gardeners are busy people and do not have time for lots and lots of meetings, 2. Following through on ANY task that involves paperwork, forms, proofing and such easily falls by the wayside for busy people who are consistently bombarded by emails. 3. We make vacant lots look better without being forced to do so by city ordinance, without having to fill out copious amounts of forms, without being threatened with code compliance officers, and without certificates of occupancy. When the neighbors come to our community gardens they usually want to join and we don’t turn anyone away.
This recommended option will change the way we have created community gardens so far. First, there will be lots of meetings, with neighbors and interested parties (you know no one will be able to meet at the same time). Then there will be required signatures from everyone that lives within 200 ft. of any proposed garden (I want to know if this includes other vacant lots, homes under foreclosure and homes for sale). The next phase will be to create a site plan (if its winter, you’ll just have to say that you will garden in the area that suspiciously looks like poison ivy even if you won’t know that it is until the spring) and finally to apply for a permit (how long this process will take has not been hypothesized). If you could not find those neighbors from 200 ft away, the city will hold a public hearing at the expense of $500 (maybe, it could be less, they don’t know yet). In the end, the proposed community garden can have 400 sq. ft of structural space (in the rear only and I won’t even get started talking about the need for a pavilion to collect rain water and host gatherings), no animals grazing or produced (forget about anyone’s goat grazing on that poison ivy so that you can follow through with the proposed site plan, and forget too about those chickens you were thinking about. Seeing as how bees are animals too, they really aren’t allowed either), and no selling of harvested produce (though I am hoping that bartering does not count here).
Its true, we are on the cutting edge of a food revolution and there will always be attempts to stifle those who work hard to move our society forward, but I also know you would not garden if you did not believe that as a community we should fight for the right to grow food wherever we can. I am calling on your fighting spirit to overcome this recommendation. The members of the TEC committee are listed here so that you may contact them (even one email will help, and yours is important) and tell them you don’t want more meetings, more unnecessary fund raising (to cover added permit costs) and more bureaucracy all in the name of growing your own food. Please let them know what your experience tells you: Community Gardens can regulate themselves.
City of Dallas, Transportation & Environment Committee
Linda Koop 214-670-7817, email@example.com
Sheffie Kadane 214.670.4069
Jerry R. Allen 214-670-4068, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tennell Atkins (214) 670-4066, email@example.com
Carolyn R. Davis 214-670-4689, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vonciel Jones Hill 214-670-0777, email@example.com
Angela Hunt (214) 670-5415, firstname.lastname@example.org
Delia Jasso 214-670-4052, email@example.com
Pauline Medrano, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem 214-670-4048, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Natinsky, 214-670-406, email@example.com
Thanks, and hope to see you tomorrow,
We appreciate all of the attention we’re seeing from different media outlets, and Oak Cliff People continues the trend in their latest issue!
The article,”Gardens Garner Council Support”, discusses this past Monday’s city council meeting regarding the cities policy toward permitting community gardens. Councilwoman Delia Jasso and the rest of the council past a unanimous motion to come up with other options other than the one presented to the council that included a possible $1,170 application for a permit that would have taken up to 1 year for approval.
Mariana is quoted saying, “We have vacant lots in Oak Cliff that need redevelopment, and there are very few prospects for coming up with new buildings for those places. If nothing else, community gardens are a good short-term idea for cleaning up a lot that needs some help and bringing the neighborhood together”
Also, a great picture of Jerri and Mariana working at the new Methodist Dallas Hospital Garden is on page 6 of the remaining story!
The Transportation and Economic Development committee of the Dallas City Council has some good ideas. After the initial briefing by staff their questions were clear and showed direct interest in the health of our community garden effort. The conclusion of the committee after the briefing was that staff should bring back a better plan to make it easier for community gardens to be formed.
During the briefing (In case you missed Jim Shutze’s live blog)
The committee first wanted to know where staff got some of the ideas in the briefing such as the $1,170 for permitting fees and the two harvest sales allowed for the year. Staff admitted that they used the city’s “garage sale model” and that it costs money to go through the permitting process, but they really don’t know how much (maybe $200-$300 to post an ad in the newspaper). The committee seemed to be working hard to avoid laughing at these admissions, gardeners in the audience were laughing. Garage sales and harvest sales are quite different. I don’t have to point out to you that the junk in my garage will not rot into a soupy mess (I don’t think so anyway), and that newspaper ads to the whole city about a garden seem like overkill (even to the committee).
In the next portion of the briefing Councilwoman Delia Jasso asked me to speak to the committee. I am not sure exactly what I said but it went something like this:
“A garden needs room to grow and will in turn grow a community around it, with or without formal agreements on plot rental. Fees and a permitting process will only stifle this type of effort. Growing food for yourself and your neighbors should be a right everywhere and staff should read some books on the subject.” I hope this is the message that I conveyed and I hope that it represents what Community Gardens of Oak Cliff is about. The committee then asked if anyone else would like to speak and Don Lambert spoke to the point of the permitting process too. He told the committee that it is unlikely that recent immigrants and low income people (who are often the ones in desperate need to grow their own food) will be able to navigate the permitting process. He also reiterated that growing your own food is a right.
The rest of the briefing had lots of commentary about how great community gardens are and the benefits of having one in any neighborhood. Councilwoman Davis even said she has a vacant lot in mind across the street from her house and she and her neighbors are planning a flower garden.Then a speaker from the Environmental Quality office gave support to the benefits of gardening on the environment and then the committee took a turn down a road that I think we need to explore:
Councilman Tennell Atkins wanted to know: “What happens when I give or sell a tomato to my neighbor and they get sick?” At this point I wish I could have spoken again because I heard Don Lambert behind me say “the food at the grocery store is what makes you sick”. I am not going to bash the grocery stores here but I will endorse the Organic Consumers Association and their efforts to educate the public on this very issue. The cases of food born illnesses from fresh produce have not come from home grown or organically grown vegetables.
Lastly, Councilwoman Angela Hunt questioned Option 1: to garden by right by asking what happens if someone not from a neighborhood comes in and starts a garden where the neighborhood does not want it. She spoke to the gardeners in the audience and talked about a simple permitting process similar to the notification for a conservation district in a neighborhood. Her concern was that neighbors should be involved. We all nodded over and over again as I thought, “what a good way to get the plots rented by the neighbors and also to get their contact information”.
I don’t know about you but I have no plans to go to a neighborhood and start something without neighbor support. We’ve got enough to do here in Oak Cliff where the interest keeps growing and so does the Romaine.
Tune into ‘Think’ on KERA 90.1 at 1pm on Tuesday, March 8th to hear host Kris Boyd be joined by our own Marianna Griggs, President of the Oak Cliff Community Gardens, Amy Wallace Cowan, organizer of Cliff Fest and the Oak Cliff Mardi Gras Parade, and Jason Roberts, who’s involved in everything that’s anything in North Oak Cliff.
I definitely think she’ll be the star on this one!