Community Gardens Thrive in Brownsville

Members of Los Angeles Community Garden stand in front of the one of their plots. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

Members of Los Angeles Community Garden stand in front of the one of their plots. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

One of the best ways to eat the freshest vegetables grown without pesticides or herbicides that could be harmful to a person’s health is by growing your own.

That is what a group of people have been doing in Brownsville where each person put in hours in a plot of land called the community garden.

They have tomatoes, peppers, basil, broccoli, kale, chard and other vegetable plants that look as healthy as they can be.

One of the best aspects of the garden is that everything is organically grown.

The community garden is a project of the Brownsville Wellness Coalition – an initiative created in 2008 with the launching of the first certified farmers’ market.

The program was in accordance with the City’s Health Initiative Plan to combat diabetes and obesity in the community. Since then, five community gardens have opened, impacting nearly 1,000 people.

At a garden on Eighth Street, about a dozen people meet about once a week to talk about health issues, gardening and to hear Danny Cuevas of Texas A&M University Agrilife Extension.

He provides a wealth of ideas, including what kind of dirt to use, when to plant and how to work on a vegetable garden.

For instance, instead of buying pesticide from a commercial business, he recommends making a homemade mixture using a 1 gallon of white vinegar, a cup of table salt and a teaspoon of Dawn soap.

“Watch out for the wind direction when spraying plants,” he said. “Rotate plants every year for pest control.”

The garden in downtown Brownsville was started in January of this year and it’s about to be full with vegetables. Cuevas said it’s never too late to start a garden, though early in the year and in fall are best because of the hot summer months.

Brenda Garza, a member of Los Angeles Community Garden, said she has acquired a strong appreciation of growing her own food.

“Gardening has made me understand the real meaning of “you reap what you sow,’ “she said. “In order to enjoy the fruits of your labor, you have to learn about the plants and invest the time and effort to care for them.”

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