Gardening

The mission of building gardens into our branches is to educate and involve the community in learning about growth in nature, and to promote healthy and active lifestyles through reconnecting individuals to the food they eat and grow.

In 2012, the City of Austin Art in Public Places Program commissioned local artists Lucy Begg and Robert Gay of Thoughtbarn to design and implement a community garden at the new City of Austin/YMCA North Austin Community Recreation Center. During the course of the project, the artists worked extensively with the local community, through workshops and public events, to develop the design of the garden. They also established the Garden Leadership Group, now led by community volunteers, to develop a governing structure, membership rules and fees.

The Hays YMCA was given a grant in 2016 from the St. David’s Foundation Group called Health’s Angels to get a senior garden started. The foundation promotes healthy living for seniors, and provided funds and educational classes to help start and maintain the garden. The YMCA, Health’s Angels and in partnership with Resolutions Gardens in Austin, prepared the site in 2017.

If you are interested in joining the Y’s Ones Garden Club, please contact Gary Davis.

The TownLake YMCA community garden began in 2005, with five raised beds made by Amanda Hickey, then Child Watch staff, and Felix Llanos, maintenance technician. When TownLake was renovated, new gardens were unveiled out front in September 2012. Over the years, members and staff have taken turns growing food and flowers in the limestone garden plots, all-organic, with no pesticides allowed. The first garden spot is always reserved for children to be able to touch, smell, taste, and observe. The other plots are rotated on a two-year basis. To get on the waiting list for a garden plot at TownLake, please contact Amanda Hickey at Amanda.hickey@austinymca.org.

The East Communities YMCA Teaching Garden was constructed in 2017 with a community wellness grant from the City of Austin, and it is financially sustained through annual grants from Whole Foods. The teaching garden provides a natural space for children in YMCA programs to explore food and nature. Future plans include adult and family garden programming as well as cooking classes and cooking competitions using ingredients from the garden. Those interested in volunteering or teaching in the garden can contact Cinnamon at cinnamon.hemmeline@austinymca.org

In partnership with the City of Bastrop, the Bastrop Community Garden has beds available for adoption. The goal is to have beds adopted by organizations, civic groups, non-profits and families with the intent of using the garden as a teaching tool. The dirt and water will be provided, the rest is up to the adoptive groups/families. There is no cost for using the bed, except for the seeds/plants of your choosing. The garden is being led in part by the Bastrop County Master Gardeners – they are available to guide and teach your group the ins and outs of gardening.

Available Sessions