Without Community Gardens, 'Livable City' is a Misnomer

<p>This commentary from the <em>Austin American Statesman</em> argues that the city's aim to become the country's most livable city is undercut by its low number of community gardens.</p>
May 7, 2008, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The laundry list of green initiatives adopted by the City of Austin is a tribute to Austin's commitment to becoming the most livable city in the country. Green oases in the middle of urban areas, community gardens are a necessary part of any livable city. Located in areas easily accessible to residents, these public spaces offer land on which neighbors work together to grow their own food, thereby reducing fuel consumption and pollution emitted by trucking produce across the country."

"Austin is home to 12 community gardens. For a city the size of Austin, this number is well below that of urban areas of similar size. In Portland, Ore., the Parks and Recreation department operates 30 community gardens with assistance from the Friends of Portland Community Gardens. Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Program works with the P-Patch Trust to support the efforts of 54 community gardens."

"Unlike the public programming that supports community gardening in Portland and Seattle, the process for starting a garden in Austin is cumbersome and costly. Though the city does permit groups to use public land for gardens for a nominal annual fee, only five community gardens reside on public property."

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Published on Monday, May 5, 2008 in Austin American Statesman
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