DALLAS – There was a big announcement Friday from a North Texas organization that aims to bring healthy food to underserved communities.
Big Tex Urban Farms said its “million serving mission” is now a reality.
Two years after Big Tex Urban Farms began, he launched the One Million Servings Mission, committing farms to grow and donate one million servings to South Dallas.
The USDA considers this area of North Texas a food desert, with limited access to personal vehicles, public transportation, and no grocery stores within a mile.
For many who live in South Dallas, farm-grown food is the only fresh food they can take home.
“With this facility and the way we can grow, we can grow leafy greens, cucumbers, herbs and more. Healthy foods all year round,” said Drew Demler, director of horticulture for BigTex Urban Farms. “Even some of the places we donate to are full of food, but it’s nothing fresh, so they get non-perishable items. Nothing wrong with that, but we’re able to provide something different fresh, full of nutrients, as fresh as possible.
The idea for the State Fair of Texas to create its own farm in the middle of South Dallas began in 2016.
Now that’s a high-tech way to maximize space and beat the elements to grow fresh fruits and vegetables year-round.
The urban farm uses hydroponics with vertical growth techniques to grow produce in water, not soil. In addition to its urban farm at the fairgrounds, the state fair strives to teach the concept of indoor farming in South Dallas.
South Dallas is a job desert, an education desert, and in many cases a hope desert.
Dr. Doric Earle co-founded Restorative Farms in South Dallas with help from the State Fair.
“It’s been underserved and neglected for years,” he said. “If you can teach someone how to turn their garden soil, maybe sell it and feed their family, you create a positive thought cycle.”
Earle says the urban farm concept makes Dallas less dependent on weather and other areas.
“Having food this close to your table is 40-80% more nutritious, the food you get from Mexico or California is designed to travel first and then taste good second. It tastes better,” a- he declared.
While gardens were commonplace, Earle says the urban farm concept works to retool people.
The goal now for the state’s urban farm is to keep growing.