A Garden Grows in Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum dabbles in variety of things. The familiar: bars, music venues, restaurants, tattoo parlors and stores filled with vintage tchotchkes. Then there are a few surprises, like a winery, a cheese shop and ninja parking lot attendants. Hopefully soon they'll add to the list of familiar a community garden.

A group of volunteers has created DUG, Deep Ellum Urban Gardens (a sub-committee of the Deep Ellum Community Association (DECA)), and they've got their green thumbs honed in on a patch of grass near the intersection of Canton and Good Latimer. The vision of the project is to develop a space for local residents and restaurants to grow produce, while also creating some neighborly time together.

Over the past year DUG has been busy organizing plans, obtaining permits and has also had the soil tested. With all of that taken care of, they are now working on funding.

To see the full beauty of this urban garden realized, they need to raise a total $25,000.

A cool $10K "will cover the fencing and labor," said DECA Board Member Paula Ramirez. "That is Step 1 of building the gardens. Without a fence we would not be able to safely store other gardening materials. The other $15,000 should cover the rest of the supplies we need."

An irrigation system, tool shed, gravel, mulch, topsoil and a washing station are some of the items on that supply list.

"If materials are donated, such as lumber, we will deduct that from the grand total," Ramirez added.

In true Deep Ellum fashion, DUG has bypassed the traditional sidewalk bake-sale to raise the money for this project and have instead taken the multi-media path by using a website called Crowd Tilt, which is a Dallas-based online fundraising company.

Interested donors can pledge any amount to the DUG account, and once a certain threshold is met, $10,000 in this case, the entire project is "tilted" and funded.

The campaign just went live this past weekend and has already achieved 10 percent of its goal. They have until October 31 to raise $10,000, at which point the campaign tilts, meaning credit cards are charged and a check is cut and mailed to DUG. (If it doesn't tilt, no one gets charged -- and no checks are mailed.)

Even though the timeline for Crowd Tilt ends October 31, DUG sees this as a long-term project overall.

"We have more fundraising ideas coming down the pipeline," Ramirez added. "We are working with the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market to try to set up a Food Truck day in Deep Ellum, where we would shut down part of Main street for five hours and have trucks, eating, lounging spaces and a VIP blogging lounge on a monthly basis to benefit DUG and become a staple activity in Deep Ellum.

"Even if we get to $25,000, this urban garden is not just for us, but for future generations of Deep Ellum. We not only hope to build the gardens but find a way to maintain the gardens for generations to come."

For more information visit the DUG website.

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