The 7-acre site of the Westbury Community Garden, located at Dunlap at Fonmeadow in the Westbury SuperNeighborhood, is owned by the Houston Housing Authority. For almost 30 years, the land has been park space. In 1982 the Westbury Civic Club filed suit against the Houston Housing Authority for violations of statutes related to their plans to build an apartment complex on this site. An out-of-court agreement was reached, and it was decided that this acreage would be a good site for a city park due to its location next to an existing 900+ unit apartment complex. The Houston Parks and Recreation Department leased and maintained the land for 25 years.
In 2009, a group of volunteers seeking to build a community garden in the Westbury area discovered this 7-acre site within the Westbury SuperNeighborhood boundaries. The long-term lease of the site by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department had just expired, so the garden volunteers sought a lease with the Houston Housing Authority (The HHA is NOT a city department, the HHA administers federal funds). City Council Member Anne Clutterbuck negotiated a lease from the HHA on behalf of the Westbury Civic Club on 2 acres of the site in December of 2009. In 2011, the lease was modified so that we now lease the entire 7-acre site. The Westbury Community Garden is a joint project of the Westbury SuperNeighborhood, the Westbury Civic Club, and the Westbury Area Improvement Corporation.
Thanks to Keep Houston Beautiful, Keep America Beautiful, and Scotts Miracle-Gro, our first garden beds were constructed in March of 2010. Today there are 62 raised beds, a 30 foot by 30 foot outdoor learning pavilion, orchards, compost areas, a rainwater collection system, and a certified butterfly garden with native plants. Leadership Houston Class XXVIII built the beautiful June Holly Educational Pavilion (outdoor learning pavilion) and hundreds of children and adults have attended classes under its roof. Our garden also features public art. Artistic garden signs were created by volunteers trained by MOCAH (Museum of Cultural Arts – Houston) in 2010. In November 2013, the Art Club students from Westbury High School painted large murals on our garden storage sheds.
The Westbury Community Garden is an allotment garden affiliated with Urban Harvest. Two Urban Harvest classes, “Planting the Fall Vegetable Garden” and “Constructing the Home Fruit Vegetable Garden” are commonly taught at the Westbury Community Garden under the pavilion. In 2014, two farmers who graduated from the Plant It Forward Farms program broke ground on two acres on the Westbury Community Garden property. (Plant It Forward Farms teaches refugees how to farm in the Houston climate and how to take their produce to market.) The farms are now producing and the PIFF Farm Stand sells fresh organic produce to the public on Saturdays and Sundays. They also offer a Farm Share CSA program.
The Westbury Community Garden is one of the largest, most successful community gardens in Houston. The garden has won both local and national awards. As our mission: “The Westbury Community Garden educates adults and children about good nutrition and ecology, strengthens community spirit, provides organically-grown food, and serves as a gathering place for the community.” The garden’s slogan is “Growing Community through Gardening” and that is what it does. We have successfully created a space where residents of area single-family homes garden together with residents from nearby multi-family housing.
Our gardeners are as diverse as the produce they grow and they come from all over southwest Houston. People from different backgrounds, cultures, and circumstances come together as gardeners.