Seedling garden sprouts up, giving residents access to fresh foods


SOUTH DALLAS, Texas — Tyrone Day said he grew up eating food in his South Dallas home that was bought from small corner stores because it was easily accessible. The items were often highly processed and easy to make, so vegetables were rarely on the menu, he said.

The 47-year-old now wants to break that habit by giving South Dallas residents fruit and vegetable plants and teaching them how to grow and add them to their meals.

“Diets are restricted by finances, poverty and not having the correct knowledge about the health benefits to eating vegetables,” Day said. “People eat what’s attainable here. The hardest part is getting people to eat a cucumber” instead of fast food.

Day is the supervisor of The Seedling Farm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center’s Freedom Garden, which opened to the public Tuesday morning. The farm will provide residents with a variety of seasonal fruit and vegetable plants and in-person gardening advice at no cost.

Residents and community groups can meet with Day, an urban farm expert, to learn the best practices and types of plants they can grow at home or in their own community gardens. Day and the residents will select the seeds and grow them at the seedling farm’s greenhouse until they are mature enough to be planted elsewhere.

“Teaching them how to take care of that plant, that’s what I’m here for,” Day said. “I want people to come in and learn how to do this so they can have a sustainable garden.”

HELPING SOUTH DALLAS THRIVE

The farm is a collaborative effort by Owen Lynch, associate professor of organizational communication at Southern Methodist University, the MLK Jr. Community Center, Big Tex Urban Farms, Texas A&M AgriLife and several other Dallas urban farm organizations.

Lynch said the farm was the first step toward combating South Dallas’ food desert problem. He said many residents in the area don’t eat fruits or vegetables because local stores don’t always have them, and people opt out of buying perishable food items when they travel long distances to access better stores.

“You are not going to buy fresh fruits and vegetables because they perish, and you’re going to stretch your family’s dollar as much as possible,” Lynch said. “People also have to get things that won’t spoil on their long bus rides home.”

Both Lynch and Day said The Seedling Farm’s goal is also to help struggling and upcoming community gardens in South Dallas thrive.

“We have a lot of gardens in South Dallas that are laying dormant,” Day said. “Either the caretaker was not experienced or not enough community involvement or enough produce.”

SPREADING THE WORD

Manie Murry and Sonya Dorsey said they were interested in partnering with The Seedling Farm to start a community garden at CitySquare, where they work. Each took a small basil plant from the farm.

Dorsey, who works as the head chef at CitySquare in South Dallas, said she planned to use the plant for one of her pasta dishes.

Murry said she hoped they could soon grow similar plants to feed the people who use their services. She said CitySquare works with a lot of homeless people, so they also want to teach them how to plant fruits and vegetables where they live.

“Maybe teaching them gardening in a milk carton, or other ways that are portable,” Murry said. “Many of them live in tents, so they can’t always make things they get at the pantry like cheesy rice, but they can plant their own vegetables or fruits wherever they live and have access to healthy food.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Lifestyle

Memorial Day events include Treaty Oak Rod Run, W Austin’s Soundwave
Memorial Day events include Treaty Oak Rod Run, W Austin’s Soundwave

Memorial Day events The Hell Yes Project Olympics at the ABGB. The Memorial Day party, a second annual event, will feature eight Austin nonprofits competing in field day-style activities for a $1,000 gold medal prize. The scheduled activities include a water balloon toss, speed cornhole, crowler can stacking and Simon Says. Points will be rewarded...
Head into summer with Steely Dan show, a salsa soirée and more
Head into summer with Steely Dan show, a salsa soirée and more

1. “An American in Paris” 8 p.m. May 30-June 2, 2 p.m. June 2, and 1 and 7 p.m. June 3. $30-$125. Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive. texasperformingarts.org. Inspired by the Academy-Award winning film, this Tony Award-winning play is the idyllic story of an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European...
Today’s birthdays - Sunday, May 27
Today’s birthdays - Sunday, May 27

Today’s Birthdays: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Herman Wouk is 103. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is 95. Former FBI Director William Sessions is 88. Author John Barth is 88. Actress Lee Meriwether is 83. Musician Ramsey Lewis is 83. Actor Louis Gossett Jr. is 82. Rhythm and blues singer Raymond Sanders (The Persuasions) is 79....
Kick off the summer with these family events in Austin, May 27-June 2
Kick off the summer with these family events in Austin, May 27-June 2

Events RED Arena Round-Up. Family fun and inclusive rodeo play day with a petting zoo, kid games and mini horses. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Free. Dripping Springs Ranch Park, 1042 Event Center Drive, Dripping Springs. redarena.org Ask a Vet. Bring your questions to hear from Thundering Paws veterinarian Lauren Cannon. 11:30 a.m. Saturday...
Dear Abby - Sunday, May 27

Dear Abby: I have the sweetest boyfriend I’ll call “Earl.” He’s 58. I’m a widow and have been with him for two years. Earl loves me, helps me and goes out with me wherever I want to go. One problem: He flirts with other women. It can be family, neighbors, clerks, waitresses, etc. He calls them “sweetheart,&rdquo...
More Stories