Above, the San Marcos Community can rent their own plot at either the Dunbar Neighborhood Garden or the Alamo Neighborhood Garden. Below, Betsy Robertson, founding member of Sustainable San Marcos, showcases the garden. Daily Record photos by Alyssa Gonzales
PLANTING SEEDS: Sustainable San Marcos, City partner to oversee neighborhood gardens
San Marcans with green thumbs or a passion for gardening have the opportunity to visit and start growing at the San Marcos Neighborhood Gardens.
Community members can lease a 10x20-foot plot space to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers or herbs of their choice at either the Dunbar Garden located at 303 S. Mitchell St. or the Alamo Garden located at 1224 Alamo St.
“We wanted to give people a place to garden if they couldn't garden at home and we wanted also to provide fresh produce for the food bank, which at that time wasn't getting much fresh produce. So those were two main goals at the time and to build community,” said Betsy Robertson, founding member of Sustainable San Marcos.
The community gardens were created through a partnership between local nonprofit, Sustainable San Marcos, and the City of San Marcos.
“We were looking at city property that would not be developed on, that we could then utilize as spaces for community gardens. And then the city didn't have the bandwidth at the time to manage them so we worked with Sustainable San Marcos,” said Amy Thomaides, Community Enhancement Initiatives Manager for the City of San Marcos.
According to Dunbar Garden Manager Jim Baggett and fellow gardener Carol Powers, gardeners of all levels and experience are welcome to participate and assist with the community gardens. Powers also mentioned that much of the fruit and vegetable produce is donated to the Hays County Food Bank.
“I think it's really important for people to learn how to grow their own food, even if it's one thing like tomatoes or beans or something,” Thomaides said. I think it's really important for kids to learn how to grow food, and to just have that experience of doing it. Adults, children, everybody, and having a community garden gets you around people who are also wanting to do that.”
There is a $60 plot fee for the year along with an additional $50 fee. There is also a $20 fee for tool usage and a $30 deposit that individuals will get back at the end of the year if the plot is left in good shape.
Following that, folks can then contact a garden manager and set up an orientation time at the garden and pay their fee and sign their contract.
“The other thing that's required is one service hour per month, toward the general maintenance of the garden,” Robertson said. “Some of the people work on the food bank garden, some of them work on the compost, some of them work on mowing the grass or keeping the weeds out of the path.”
Those interested in plot space can visit the Sustainable San Marco website at www.ssmtx.org.
From zucchinis to watermelons and cilantro to poppies, the San Marcos community is encouraged to join, plant, garden and grow.
“It's like everything in life, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it,” Robertson said.