Dallas Breaks Ground on New USDA People's Garden
Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Texas Discovery Gardens held a groundbreaking ceremony to initiate the beginning of a USDA People’s Garden located at 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Dallas.
Temple, Texas, Sept. 8, 2022 – Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Texas Discovery Gardens held a groundbreaking ceremony to initiate the beginning of a USDA People’s Garden located at 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Dallas.
The Grow Well and Discover Garden will be a publicly accessible garden that will offer not only fresh produce in the future, but also workshops and educational events to connect people to agriculture, help people learn how to grow their own food and develop a more resilient food system. The garden will also serve a greenspace for neighbors to gather and enjoy.
“This collaborative effort will offer this community and surrounding areas the access to fresh, healthy food as well as educational experiences to replicate some of these practices at their home,” said Kristy Oates, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Texas State Conservationist. “This garden is not just about growing food at this location; it’s about inspiring others to grow their own food and giving them the tools to do it.”
Situated at an entrance to the State Fair of Texas, the garden benefits from foot traffic from people heading to the largest fair event in Texas, as well as events held on the property year-round.
“We are proud to serve as a community gardening and harvesting opportunity,” said Dick Davis, Texas Discovery Garden’s Executive Director. “It’s exciting to think through this garden we can bring communities together and not only provide food, but also, explain what practices to use or the decision to grow specific plants in our climate.”
Dallas County Commissioner Theresa Daniel was on hand to celebrate the event. Commissioner Daniel has been a champion for urban agriculture for many years.
“As a county commissioner, I think ‘How do we build a resilient local food system? How do we think about sustainable practices?’ And the answer lies within a local garden,” Daniel said. “Urban gardening is the future of Dallas. And this People’s Garden, along with many gardens around Dallas County, will be a key educational tool for so many people.”
At the event, Kelly Adkins, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director in Texas, introduced the Dallas County FSA urban agriculture county committee members who will help ensure the fair and equitable administration of FSA farm safety-net, loan, conservation and disaster assistance programs to urban producers in the county.
“FSA and the urban agriculture county committee members are proud to support our urban agriculture producers,” said Adkins. “USDA is committed to investing in urban agriculture and we encourage urban farmers, gardeners and livestock producers to contact their local FSA office to learn more about available programs and loans.”
In addition to Oates, Davis and Daniel, and Fair Park’s Big Tex Urban Farm Manager, Drew Demler, spoke about their excitement for the project and the opportunities it will provide the surrounding area for many years to come.
The produce grown in the Dallas People’s Garden will be provided to local residents, as well as organizations such as Baylor Scott & White Health and Wellness Institute, Cornerstone Baptist Church, and the Austin Street Shelter.
Educational demonstrations and a seminar series held throughout the year at the garden will also be used to increase awareness of urban garden health benefits, food production, food safety, food preparation and food storage, and to promote and encourage adoption of urban and community gardens.
The People’s Garden in Dallas is one of 17 locations in the nation established by the USDA-NRCS. The area surrounding the garden has some of the county’s highest poverty rates, has limited access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. The community benefits from a People’s Garden include access to healthy fresh produce, hand-on demonstrations and educational opportunities, food production, and health benefits.
To watch this and other gardens grow, visit the USDA People’s Garden webpage or follow the hashtag #PeoplesGarden on USDA’s social media channels.
USDA originally launched the People’s Garden Initiative in 2009. The initiative’s name was derived from the “People’s Department,” former President Abraham Lincoln’s nickname for the USDA. The USDA was established during his presidency in 1862.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day by focusing America’s food system towards more resilient local and regional food production and fairer markets for all producers, while ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities.
USDA is working to build new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit USDA.gov.