While spending time in her garden during the coronavirus lockdowns, Janet Crozier had an idea: Lampasas needs a community garden. “I started working in my garden, and I realized how much it fed my soul,” she said.
Crozier is now president of the newly formed Lampasas Community Garden board, a nine-member group working to establish a community garden in town. The Lampasas City Council last week approved the old volleyball court area on the north side of the Hanna Springs Swimming Pool as the location for the garden. The board is now working to secure funding the project.
Crozier said the garden will contain raised beds, which community members may rent by the plot. She has been a member of community gardens in the Austin area and said she looks forward to sharing the joy of gardening with Lampasas residents.
Crozier plans to host music and educational events at the garden. "Teaching people to garden is the vehicle,” she said. “The goal is to build community.”
The Lampasas Community Garden board plans to partner with the Master Gardeners Association, Browning Community Garden Club and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to provide gardening instruction. Crozier said she hopes to help children, novice gardeners and low-income families learn to grow their own produce. She said cultivation can reinforce concepts children learn in school, as gardeners must read seed packets and calculate proper amounts of water and soil.
Karen DeZarn, Lampasas County Extension agent for family and community health, administers the “Better Living for Texans” program, which encourages Texans to eat healthily and to exercise. She said eating fresh vegetables and fruits is important. “It helps people live longer lives and combat obesity and diseases,” DeZarn said.
DeZarn and Crozier said they hope the community garden will give Lampasas residents better access to produce. “Through education and camaraderie, they will see that they have choices in life,” Crozier said.
Lampasas Dispatch, Sunday, March 21, 2021
Lampasas Dispatch, Friday, April 23, 2021 by Monique Brand
Lampasas Community Garden open house brings dozens to event
“Community gardens play a part in a larger food systems movement such as food justice, food sovereignty, food security, urban farming and more,” said researcher Nancy Janovicek in a 2016 study titled “Seeds of Knowledge from Back-to-the-Land to Urban Gardening.”
There are hundreds of community gardens in the U.S. One such garden dates back to the 18th century, when Moravians created a public garden as part of the community of Bethabara – near modern-day Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The garden remains active and open for visitors today.
The Lampasas Community Garden opened in January and currently has 10 active plots.
Recently, the garden received a grant of $2,500 from the Rosendin Foundation, and organizers have applied for a Lower Colorado River Authority grant for a tool shed. If the organization receives the LCRA grant, it plans to use some or all of the Rosendin Foundation grant to provide a rainwater collection system for the garden area.
During the open house on Saturday, several guest speakers participated, including Chief of Police Sammy Bailey who educated the crowd on de-escalation tactics and how to safely store gardening tools.
Janet Crozier, the community garden’s board president, said the cost to own either a 4x4 or 4x8 plot is inexpensive and a value to the community.
She added that equipment and soil is provided.
“This is to teach people how to garden,” Crozier said. “Some people wanted to — originally when we set it up — so badly to garden for other people. No, this is not what we’re here for.
“We are to teach people how to take care of themselves,” she said. “By gardening, by eating nutritious food, by learning the whole activity of gardening is healthy living.”