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Southwest Airlines Community

Going Green: Learning, Teaching, Giving with Community Gardens

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Imagine this—you’re outside, the sun is just starting to rise, and you’re gazing at all of the beautiful plants you are growing in your garden.  You are able to start your day out in the cool air, working the soil, and even see Southwest planes take off right in front of you.  No, you’re not at home, you’re at work! 

Did you know that we have a community garden at Southwest Headquarters?  I didn’t up until about three weeks ago.  I’ve often seen this lucky group working out in the garden and wondered why I couldn’t be a part of it.  I finally decided to ask the head of our Headquarters Green Ambassadors, Ron Gates, about it.  He gladly put me in touch with Jaime Ibarra, the head of the community garden volunteer group and member of the Green Team, and shortly after, I was in the garden, starting my morning off right. 

I don’t have a green thumb whatsoever, but I have always wanted to learn how to produce a beautiful garden.  We are so lucky that we have this amazing, passionate group of volunteers to work the Southwest community garden—they are FULL of information and know-how.  Their main goal is to create a thriving ecosystem without chemicals.  They also wish to donate as much food as possible to local food banks.  At the moment, when a harvest is done, food is donated to a local food bank.  The Community Garden group also wants to educate others on how to create their own garden successfully.  They have created a Garden Topics Education Series that the Dallas Master Gardeners have generously agreed to help with.  On April 25, for instance, Southwest and the Dallas County Master Gardeners are hosting a Lunch ‘n Learn composting class, from 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. at Southwest Airlines Headquarters.  If you happen to be in Dallas, come join us and receive a free composting bin from the City of Dallas if you are one of the first 200 people!  The class will teach us how to take our garbage and turn it into a garden.  

I strongly encourage all of you to start a garden, whether it’s at home, in your community, or even at your workplace.  You would be surprised how easy it is to start a garden and how many resources are available to make it a success.  There is a very helpful website that will guide you, step-by-step; go to  This site will give you a personalized garden plan; tell you plants that grow in your specific area; and provide a customized to-do list, automated tracking journal, and sample signature gardens.  You can’t go wrong!  So get out there, soak in some Vitamin D, and make a difference in your community.  It is so important that we continue to teach current generations, and ones to come, this valuable knowledge. 

If you already have a community garden in your area, you can always help by donating soil, flowers, vegetables, and fruit—anything that can be planted this summer.  The ladybugs are joining the garden, and they need more food to protect.  Do you have a community garden in your neighborhood?  Let us know by commenting below!

DING!  You are now free to be Green. 

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Southwest and Dallas County Master Gardeners--this is awesome! How nice! I wish I could have attended, but I'm so happy to know that you extended this educational opportunity to the public. Thank you! I hope you had a fantastic time!
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I'm happy that you are getting the word out. This is definitely a worthy cause and something that you can learn so much from. Great story!
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That's awesome Heather! When I get a house I would love to start one! Love it 🙂
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This blog is so helpful! We just got settled into our new house and can't wait to garden! I'm gonna go to that website and see what I can get started planting. Thanks heather!