Community gardens are an increasingly popular way that people connect with others while growing their own food and spending time in nature. The City of Austin provides 27 community gardens on City land, and the Community Gardens Program is housed under the Parks and Recreation Department, whose motto “We Create Community” is a key component to understanding why community gardens belong at parks as recreational amenities offered to Austinites. 

This session will provide an overview of the Austin food system and the efforts to improve equitable access around local food production, and will discuss the City’s role in providing land and a language access pilot to increase accessibility for refugee gardeners.  

We will highlight some unique urban agriculture projects like the Festival Beach Food Forest, partnerships with local nonprofits like the Sustainable Food Center, and will discuss permitting challenges and the revision of the community garden permitting process.

Presenters: S. Albornoz, Sustainable Food Center, Austin, TX; M. Gauthier, Austin Parks and Recreation, Austin, TX; L. Gibson, City of Austin Watershed Protection Department, Austin, TX