Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tomato The Town

Still weeks away from the big launch event for Richardson City Council member Amir Omar's ambitious green initiative "Tree the Town", he reportedly has his sights set on his next project, community gardens. Community gardens typically exploit neglected public space (vacant lots, open land along highways, etc.) by putting the idle land to productive use growing vegetables. I've got nothing against the concept, but the concept will have difficulty getting a foothold in Richardson.

After the jump, some reasons why.

First, where are the community gardens to go? Omar's goal of 50,000 trees is already somewhat dubious as it is likely to require not only all the public space in Richardson but most of the private land as well. Any land that might be suitable for a community garden probably is suitable for planting a few trees instead. Getting those 50,000 trees in the ground will almost certainly demand it.

Second, Richardson's land usage is mostly single family homes. That means most Richardson residents already have a back yard or side yard to make into a garden if the homeowner wanted. Working with apartment owners to turn some of their common area into a garden for their residents is a worthwhile idea, but city involvement doesn't seem to be needed for this, unless Richardson has some ordinance forbidding such land use that needs to be repealed.

In short, community gardens are a good idea that probably aren't needed in Richardson.

P.S. I would have linked to information about the big launch event for "Tree the Town" but as far as I can tell, there isn't any. If you can find information on either the City of Richardson's home page or its Green COR page, send us the secret code to find it, too.

P.P.S. Tomato the Town would be a good name for a rock band.

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