State Fair of Texas

Big Tex Urban Farm working with high school interns to spark interest in horticulture

Student interns from City Lab High School in Dallas spent the morning at Big Tex Urban Farms sharing what they've learned with fairgoers.

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When you go to the State Fair of Texas, you probably think of food on a stick. There is also food on a string and in buckets that grow at Big Tex Urban Farm at Fair Park.

"Everyone needs to eat," State Fair of Texas Director of Horticulture Drew Demler said. "It's helpful to know where your food is coming from."

Big Tex Urban Farms has interns from City Lab High School in Dallas working with them to learn about urban farming, and then pass that information on to fairgoers who visit.

"It's a lot more reliable than maybe traditional farming," City Lab High School senior and intern Charity Berhe said. "Especially with climate change and soil erosion, there's a lot of issues with, like, the environment right now. So seasons could become more drastic, but the greenhouse will always be the same."

Sustainable, with a shorter distance from urban farm to table. That means less food waste, too.

'When they come in here, they're seeing something growing, or they're experiencing horticulture for the very first time," Demler said. "As a society, urban society, we've kind of lost touch with nature a little bit. We hope to kind of rekindle that."

Berhe and her intern classmates put together presentations to explain urban farm systems to visitors. Some of them will be chosen for spring internships that will give them hands-on experience at Big Tex Urban Farms.

"It's very important," City Lab High School Career and Technical Internship Coordinator Megan James said. "If you look at what's coming around modern day, it's very much locally grown, homegrown is what you're wanting in your kitchen. You don't think you're going to see that at the fair."

"Honestly, this stuff is just more important," Berhe said. "I think what they're doing here is really amazing."

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