During pandemic, local garden helps build sense of community in Cy-Fair

Oasis Gardens of The Living Legacy Center was launched on Cypress North Houston Road in Cypress in 2019. (Courtesy Living Legacy Center)
Oasis Gardens of The Living Legacy Center was launched on Cypress North Houston Road in Cypress in 2019. (Courtesy Living Legacy Center)

Oasis Gardens of The Living Legacy Center was launched on Cypress North Houston Road in Cypress in 2019. (Courtesy Living Legacy Center)

Oasis Gardens, a community garden project operating as a part of The Living Legacy Center in Cy-Fair, was founded as a way to instill a sense of community, both among volunteer gardeners as well as the patrons who stop by the weekly farmers market to peruse the goods for sale. In the age of COVID-19, that sense of community has become even more important.

The garden was started in January 2019 by Don Graves, one of the center's clients who was looking for an outlet to give his life purpose, said Birgit Fisher, who helps run the garden as an administrative assistant with the Living Legacy Center. The center has been working to provide resources free of charge to veterans, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities in Cy-Fair since 2015. Gardening, Fisher said, can have therapeutic benefits for people with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, conditions she said are seen in many Living Legacy Center clients.

Over a short period of time, the endeavor grew to the point where it had around 25 core volunteers coming in on a regular basis, Fisher said. The garden also grabbed the attention of donors, who helped fund the installation of a sprinkler system and the construction of a greenhouse, which allows volunteers to plant seedlings on site instead of having to do so at their homes.

The farmers market, which runs from around 9-noon every Saturday, offers a variety of organic, seasonal produce, herbs and flowers on a donation basis, meaning patrons pay whatever they are able to, Fisher said. In the age of COVID-19, more people are finding the garden a source of vital nutrition in the face of financial strife, she said.

"We have definitely seen the impact the layoffs have had in our neighborhood and our community," Fisher said.

Since the pandemic hit Houston—along with the ensuing need to socially distance—volunteers now come out in smaller numbers, and donations have fallen, an outcome that Fisher said was understandable.

"Any extra income [people have] is certainly not spent on nonprofit organizations," she said. "I think that is almost carried over from [Hurricane] Harvey. I know nonprofit endeavors really took a back seat after Harvey, and it was very difficult to recover, especially for the very small nonprofit organizations like ours."

However, Fisher said the goal of the garden was never to generate a profit. Instead, she said it was something that grew organically to fill a need within the community. The benefits are felt for people like Graves—who experience therapeutic benefits from being outdoors and cultivating plants—as well as the Cypress community as a whole, she said.

"We have people who drive by on daily or weekly drive who love to see how things grow over the period," she said. "We have people stop by and tell us it gives them a little hope to see it."

For those who stop by the garden to shop, Fisher said all donations are appreciated, and no one should feel embarrassed for not being able to make large contributions.

"Because we are so localized and so involved in the community, they really have no idea how far we can stretch that dollar or $10," she said. "Our funds stay directly within the Cypress area. They go back to the community."

Learn more about Oasis Gardens here.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


A house in the Balmoral development in Kingwood.
2,300 homes slated along FM 2920 in Hockley

Land Tejas will construct 2,300 new homes in a 646-acre development in Hockley.

The pizza and pasta eatery is opening this fall. (Courtesy Russo’s New York Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen)
Russo’s New York Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen coming soon to Bridgeland

The eatery specializes in New York-style pizza, but calzones, pasta, deli sandwiches, salads and soups are also on the menu.

Harris County Pets facilitates pet adoptions, foster placements and more. (Courtesy Harris County Pets)
Harris County Pets temporarily waives adoption fees to control increase of population

Harris County Pets has exceeded its capacity to house its growing pet population, officials said.

Masterpiece Desserts is opening in late June with plans for a grand opening in late July. (Courtesy Masterpiece Desserts)
Masterpiece Desserts to open Cy-Fair storefront this month

This is the first brick-and-mortar location for the business, which specializes in miniature cheesecakes.

Americans spent 44% more shopping on websites, including Amazon, in 2020 than in 2019. (Courtesy Amazon)
Surge in online shopping strains Houston’s distribution channels

Online spending in the U.S. was up 44% from 2019 to 2020, and transportation expert Bill Eisele said this uptick has put a strain on the region’s transportation system.

According to county officials, 40% of the $125 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Harvey took place within Harris County. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas General Land Office says it is 'not feasible' to request $750M in federal flood aid within 30 days

Houston-area officials ask for 30-day-dealine on the Texas General Land Office's formal request for $750 million in federal flood aid funding, but GLO says it is not possible.

Texas Central has signed a $16 billion contract with Webuild to lead the civil construction team that will build the train. (Rendering courtesy Texas Central)
Texas Central signs $16B construction contract for high-speed rail project

Texas Central could be one step closer to starting construction.

Russ Poppe, the Harris County Flood Control District executive director, will officially step down July 2 after nearly fifteen years in the position. (Courtesy Harris County Flood Control District)
Executive Director Russ Poppe announces resignation from Harris County Flood Control District

Harris County Flood Control District Executive Director Russ Poppe announced his resignation June 11.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a call for Texans to conserve energy June 14. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT asks Texans to conserve energy with generation outages 2.5 times higher than normal

"This is unusual for this early in the summer season," said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT vice president of grid planning and operations, in a news release.

League City's Helen Hall Library History Club hosted an event related to Juneteenth on June 7. The holiday honors Union Gen. Gordon Granger coming to Galveston in 1865 to announce the liberation of enslaved people in Texas. (Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
Celebrate Juneteenth in Galveston with a movie screening, parade and more on June 17, 19

The Juneteenth Legacy Project, which aims to recontextualize the day and properly communicate its story and relevance, is hosting or advertising numerous events over the course of the holiday weekend.

Missouri City resident Jackie Ward became the chief nursing officer at Texas Children’s Hospital in January. (Photo by Michael Carr Photography, graphic by Chase Brooks/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Jackie Ward, Texas Children's Hospital chief nursing officer, discusses career, nursing during COVID-19

Prior to becoming chief nursing officer, Missouri City resident Jackie Ward worked as an oncology nurse and in a variety of leadership roles at Texas Children's Hospital.

The 21st-century learning center is designed for students as young as 5. (Courtesy Acton Academy)
Cy-Fair private school Acton Academy to open second location on Cy-Hope’s campus

Kristah Slate started Acton Academy Cy-Fair in 2019 with a campus near Jersey Village, and the school is set to launch a second location this fall.