VISIT the Pearland Community Gardens Website for more details : Click Here
Community Garden Calendar : check this calendar for opportunities to volunteer!
In 2013, Keep Pearland Beautiful acquired the Pearland Community Gardens, located on 1.5 acres of land at the Vic Coppinger YMCA. As a KPB project, the Community Gardens will serve as a demonstration and production garden, with over 95% of the produce harvested being donated to the local food bank.
KPB sat down with Community Gardens coordinator Cassie Mitchel-Johnson to learn more about her role in the Community Gardens. Cassie Mitchel-Johnson is also a current board member with Keep Pearland Beautiful.
KPB: So Cassie, tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been in Pearland?
Cassie: I moved to Pearland when I was 1 1/2 yrs. old from Liverpool, Texas and have been a Pearland resident since 1979. I am married to Ron Mitchel and a proud mother of 2 boys, who are 13 and 2 years of age.
I started working on the Pearland Old Townsite Farmers Market in 2009 in hopes of helping foster a greater sense of community in the heart of the old townsite area. The market opened in 2010 and is growing every year. Our focus has been locally produced goods…and we currently have 21 vendors that comes out on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month.
In 2009 I also began working with a small group of residents to start Pearland Community Gardens. We planted our first crop in the spring of 2010 and the project is growing and getting better every year. In 2012, we were able to donate over 600+ pounds of fresh produce to local food banks.
KPB: I know you’re never supposed to ask a woman her age, but how old were you when you first got into gardening?
Cassie: Honestly, I was exposed to gardening all of my life, but I didn’t start really getting my hands dirty till I was 28 year old.
KPB: So you’ve only been gardening for one year then?
Cassie: (laughs) Right only one year!
KPB: What got you into gardening?
Cassie: I can remember how much I loved my grandmother’s cooking and everything on the table was from her garden. I can remember sitting on her porch in the evenings shelling peas and listening to stories of earlier times. I wanted that for my children: the healthy lifestyle, the memories, and the joys of harvest after the hard work of growing season.
KPB: What is your favorite thing about the Community Gardens?
Cassie: Watching the garden grow, the friendships made, and the knowledge shared. I am always amazed at how much more others know and the wealth of knowledge that is shared during our workdays. The joys of harvest are that much greater when you have such a great group to share them with!
KPB: What are your plans for the Community Gardens?
Cassie: Currently we have 20 16ft. x 4ft. garden beds, which are worked by volunteers, and the harvest is donated to local food banks. We have 9 families in in our allotment gardens where they grow vegetables for themselves in exchange for working the Community Gardens. We planted 26 fruit trees in 2012 for National Planting Day with Keep Pearland Beautiful, Keep Texas Beautiful, Keep America Beautiful, and the Lowe’s local Heroes program. In the future we hope to expand our allotment section, build handicapped accessible beds, increase our fresh produce donations, and implement a bigger educational program.
KPB: We are very amazed at all the work you are doing for the community through the Pearland Community Gardens, and we are very proud to partner with you on this project. One last thing, if you could eat just one thing from the Community Gardens for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cassie: MMMMM….. the green beans!