One neighborhood that has remained a very desirable place to live ever since it was developed nearly a hundred years ago is Alamo Heights. It was to this part of town that we went next, though perhaps not in the city limits of Alamo Heights, which is, technically, a suburb, surrounded by San Antonio’s outward expansion. I had friends living in Alamo Heights growing up, and the neighborhoods were old but very well kept up, many houses being simple and small, but still very expensive because of the zip code. It’s a proper township, but really not much bigger than a large neighborhood. Alamo Heights doesn’t just have money, it has old money, though it’s humble in its appearance.
A neighborhoodwith money means a much nicer community garden. Mahnke Park is named after the greenbelt park across from which it sits. It was the largest space we had visited so far, with many garden beds, some in boxes, some more laid out in curvy-contour permaculture fashion. It was very well designed and maintained. I was most impressed with the labels. Just as a garden that is well loved by primary caretakers has its own look, so does a garden that is well funded have its noticeable features. Weatherproof labels, nice sitting areas, and well-constructed beds with clean borders and good weed control all imply an ample budget for the nicer touch.
In the back half of the garden we found the permaculture installation, while the front served as beds for members of the community to utilize. They had a good number of fruit trees and other perennials, and some nice large hugelkulturs. A beautiful live oak had been made into the centerpiece for a circle of re-purposed pallet benches, and a bee hive was buzzing with activity in the corner. Nadia harvest several yellow squash, giving me a good number of them to take home. Nobody was there at that moment, but we took some time to walk around, and I was very impressed. I didn’t learn much about who was involved and what their system for distributing yields or using the space was, but I think they’ve done an excellent job.
It wouldn’t take a great many of these kinds of gardens to feed whole neighborhoods, whole towns even. Especially if most people grew a few things of their own, on their own spaces. Localizing our food is a very big deal, and diversifying what is being grown in our own neighborhoods provides us with even more security and abundance. So keep those gardens coming, folks!