Urban farming

Phoebe Ann Flanigan for KUT News

Debate over whether urban farms contribute to the gentrification of Austin’s eastside was prolonged last month, when the Austin City Council decided to postpone a decision on changes to the city's urban farm rules. The council is slated to take action on that matter today.

Before their decision, a look at the issue from two standpoints: an examination of the gentrification debate, and a look at one urban farm in action.

Walk down the gravel path at 3300 Govalle Road and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into the middle of the countryside. “It doesn’t even feel like you’re in the city of Austin,” says Dorsey Barger.

She would know: as a co-owner of HausBar Farms, she gets to live there.


After dishing the dirt for months, new regulations are in the offing for Austin's urban farms.

Last week, Austin’s Planning Commission recommended a set of revisions to the city’s urban farm ordinance. And while the proposed changes would establish stricter criteria on raising some livestock, some East Austin residents say the proposals don’t go far enough.

Gefei Liu for KUT News

Herbs and vegetables are growing at the University of Texas’ student operated micro farm.

At the backyard-sized farm, located off of Manor Road, a green house is still under construction. But farmers have planted tomatoes and herbs, including lavender and mint. Workers have about three months until the farm is completely set up.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Earlier this year Forbes magazine ranked Austin the 19th Coolest City in America.

Normally this would be an honor, but the list also points out that we’re the fifth coolest city in the state behind Houston (no. 1), Dallas (no.4), San Antonio (no.11), and even Fort Worth (no.13), which all ranked higher than the Capital City on the coolness scale.

But late last week, Austin got some of its swagger back when Forbes ranked East Austin America’s Seventh Best Hipster Neighborhood

It's tempting to think the Forbes editors walked around the country, counting pairs of skinny jeans, denim vests and distressed flannel shirts. But the list was actually composed through a partnership with Nextdoor.com, which ranked the East Side as Austin's hottest hipster home base over South Congress and Travis Heights, and Walkscore.com, which tallied the number and proximity of coffee shops, food trucks, locally-owned bars and restaurants and more to pinpoint hip activity.

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

East Austin is getting a new community garden. The Sustainable Food Center of Austin broke ground today on Martin Luther King Boulevard, just west of Airport Boulevard. The community center will be equipped with gardens, a tool shed and a teaching pavilion.

Earl Maxwell is the CEO of the St. David’s Foundation, a non-profit partner in the construction of the garden. "It's about getting people outside, and getting their hands dirty and kids knowing that vegetables don't come from hands, they come from gardens," he says. "And so, we're just so happy to be a part of this."

The Sustainable Food Center says plots in the community garden will be available to the public in the fall.

Photo by Olivia Gordon for KUT News

Which came first: The chicken, or the city code?

The growing popularity of backyard chicken coops in Austin neighborhoods has prompted the City of Austin to release guidelines helping urban chicken owners from running afoul of the law.

It’s a reminder to chicken keepers of city codes restricting where and how owners can plant their coops.