Este Garden: A Community Based Project
Introducing Este garden! With the help of a team of volunteers, the talented and dedicated, Anamaria Gutierrez has been transforming the garden space next door to our highly-anticipated restaurant, Este. Scroll to read our Q & A with Anamaria, alongside images of this space
she is working to bring back to life!
Q: How long have you been farming?
A: I started farming in Austin as a volunteer at Urban Roots three years ago, and I fell in love. But honestly, farming is in my blood, so I like to think it’s always been a part of me. Of course, I already loved eating food, but since then I've dedicated my life to food in all sorts of ways- from making food, like elotes (she has an awesome elote stand that you can check out HERE), working at restaurants like Suerte and Dai Due Taqueria, working at Austin farmer’s markets to growing food and sharing meals with those I love!
Q: What has been your favorite farming experience so far?
A: I mean they're all different which is cool because they are inspirations for the future, if I have a farm. I definitely love the work Urban Roots does. They are youth-focused, donate 40% of their produce to hunger relief organizations and are super community-based. I think that's a really important part, having community members create relationships with their food. Building community is one of the coolest parts about growing food, besides from it nourishing us! A few other farms I highly respect for their sustainable growing and beautiful food are Boggy Creek, Hausbar and La Flaca!
Q: How do you see yourself growing in gardening and farming?
A: I think the biggest motivation for me in growing food, and what I want to focus on more as I continue to grow, is food justice and food access. The availability of cultural food as well. There is still a lot for me to learn- you can never stop learning when you're farming and gardening. A big part of our work at Este Garden will be thinking, "Okay so we're growing food. Now how can we make this food accessible to those who need it, not just a small percentage of the population.” And that's hard work to do. I think that it takes some serious thought to figure out how we can do that while keeping the garden afloat. Being in East Austin is an amazing opportunity to think about this.
Q: How did you make the design decisions for the space?
A: *laughs* Honestly, I was inspired by nature. The first thing we did was work on turning over the beds that remained in the garden, which were built by Dorsey and Elaine back in the day (shoutout to the creators of this BEAUTIFUL space- it is an honor to work this land.) As far as what I'm adding on to grow more food, I’m focused on creating a walking experience that is inspired by nature, like the spiral maze beds we’re building. We want people to enjoy strolling through the garden and easily engage with the food being grown, as well as be able to sit and observe all the wildlife and diversity in this green neighborhood space. We're also going to build some honeycomb-shaped beds! It's been fun just trying different things out!
Q: What are your three favorite things to grow?
A: That's a good question. Tomatoes are awesome to grow. We're not growing any here this summer, but watching tomatoes grow is extremely fun and cute. I love smelling all the tomato plants as you harvest them- the smell of summer! Peppers! I'm very excited for peppers. We're growing a lot of different varieties here, and I’m looking forward to all the yummy salsas and ferments and recipes Suerte and Este will make with them! We're also growing watermelons, and I’m SUPER thrilled to eat them as we hit the peak of heat in August. Also, harvesting potatoes is literally like a treasure hunt- SO MUCH FUN!