Sustainable Community Farm in South Dallas Grows Fresh Food, Jobs

Restorative Farms and Love, Tito's Block to Block program partnering to bring this urban farm model to South Dallas

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The dirt of a once-empty lot on Scyene Road in South Dallas is springing up healthy hope in a community often referred to as a food desert.

"It touches my heart to know that we can contribute, Restorative Farms, giving access to food,” Restorative Farms board member and volunteer Kelly Freeman said. “We actually deliver it to them, food they can't find for miles."

Restorative Farms is a nonprofit that works to provide community-based urban farms in South Dallas.  It’s working in partnership with Love Tito's Block to Block program which is the philanthropic division of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Together they are bringing a sustainable farm to the Hatcher Station Training Farm.

"Not just coming in building something,” Restorative Farms Executive Director Owen Lynch said. “It's working with the community for the community and providing food to the community."

This new farm will provide fresh local vegetables for sale.

restorative farms
CJ Johnson, NBC 5 News
Restorative Farms, September 2021.

"I believe there are a lot of people that are more aware of how important it is for themselves and their families to have healthy foods,” Freeman said. “If you can get it grown locally, that is perfect."

It's also providing more than just healthy food to the area.

People in blue shirts on-site are training for an agricultural career.

"Not just a farm to produce vegetables but a farm to produce farmers and a livelihood,” Lynch said. “What they are going to do is work that apprentice farm next to us. They are going to develop their own business plan. They are going to grow to a market. We are going to buy that product from them."

CJ Johnson, NBC 5 News
Gardeners work at South Dallas' Restorative Farms, Sept. 15, 2021.

It's a sustainable farm concept they say can tackle many issues.

"A food desert is also a job desert and I saw that we needed to have growth and job opportunity and training,” Lynch said. “We needed fresh access to food. We needed more production in South Dallas to become more resilient. So, we needed to design a system approach that could do all those three things."

The groups are hoping to see this project expand into other empty lots to help grow stronger communities.

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