The Seeds of a #CultureofAgriculture

by Christi Vasquez

Photos by Magnolia Park & Pineview Place Civic Club

This past Saturday, the Houston LISC Training4Trainers Magnolia Park team—whose members represent the East End Block Party, the Magnolia Park & Pineview Place Civic Club, and the Houston Health Department—organized the very first Community Garden Work Day. We had almost 30 volunteers show up to offer a hand on a beautiful Saturday morning!

In the span of 3 hours, our volunteers were able to set the garden up for success in a way that would not have been possible without a lot of collaboration, education, and support from the community. We saw the garden transform before our very eyes!

One of our goals is to make this a space for students who work their own schools’ gardens, but can’t access them during school breaks, or students who have graduated and want to continue growing as gardeners! We’ve had an amazing outpouring of support from area schools, and perhaps there is an East End-wide garden collaborative possible somewhere down the road?

We want to support others in the area doing similar work as much as possible, because we know our community garden is just a small part of a greater, grander vision for a healthier, more self-sufficient, sustainable, and physically active East End—a true culture of agriculture—nurtured by the skills, work, and hope put into gardening. A culture like that can ramp up conversations about health-related issues prevalent in the area, including food insecurity, and explore creative, community-driven solutions.

Want to see the garden for yourself? Join us on Thursday, October 25 for a Sip & Stroll Open House to get a look at the wonderful beds our volunteers built, learn how you can volunteer, chat with other gardening enthusiasts, and sip on refreshments while exploring the space.

We’d like to give our special thanks to:

  • the University of Houston student volunteers who put so much hard work into getting new garden beds cleared and built

  • the Houston Health Department’s master gardener Joe Icet for his knowledge, skills, amazing mulch, and help managing all of the volunteers and their tasks that morning

  • the Magnolia Multi Service Center’s own El Centro de Corazon for helping harness the community’s energy around gardening and working hard to make so many collaborations happen

  • Buffalo Bayou Rowing Center for helping haul 2,000 lbs of reusable speciality brick, sourced from a demolished building in downtown Houston

  • the East End’s farm Finca Tres Robles for providing knowledge and starter seedlings to plant in the garden

  • Gallegos Elementary School for their generous help and donation of cinderblocks to build more garden beds

Christi Vasquez