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Success Story

A Season of Thanksgiving

Publish Date
man carries a basket full of fresh produce

Today is a special day at Joppy Momma’s Farm that Kim owns and operates on the south side of Dallas in the Joppa neighborhood. Today is Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway Day. Kim and her farming partners have joined together to donate 320 turkeys along with fresh produce. 

Story and photos by:  Dee Ann Littlefield, Public Affairs Specialist, Henrietta, Texas

A Season of Thanksgiving (

Kim High walks along a mulched pathway at the far end of her garden. She walks with a trained eye, looking for vegetables ready to harvest, or some that are coming on. The fog earlier in the morning left dew on the plants that left them with water droplets glistening in the morning sun. 

“Oh look, there are some broccoli heads!” she exclaimed with a delighted smile. She then joins several of the volunteers in her garden as they pull turnips and pick mustard and collard greens and snip fresh lettuce. 

Kim High stands in front of urban garden

Today is a special day at Joppy Momma’s Farm that Kim owns and operates on the south side of Dallas in the Joppa neighborhood. Today is Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway Day. Kim and her farming partners have joined together to donate 320 turkeys along with fresh potatoes and green beans, onions and greens, and freshly dug turnips.  

Cars begin lining up for hours before the drive-through event starts. They range from elderly folks to families with children in the car with them – all eagerly anticipating this very special gift of a delicious Thanksgiving meal.

“Last year we ran out of turkeys,” Kimberly said, “and I don’t want that to happen again. So, we got some support to provide even more turkeys this year.”

A Season and a Reason to be Thankful

Joppy Momma’s Farm is a recent recipient of a USDA People’s Garden Grant from the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The grant will help expand the farm’s operation with the addition of a high tunnel and rainwater catchment system. These will help increase the farm’s contribution to urban agriculture and the community. People’s Gardens engage the community to grow fresh, healthy food and support a resilient local food system, teach people how to garden using sustainable practice, nurture habitat for pollinators and wildlife, and provide greenspace for neighbors to gather and enjoy.

USDA People's Garden sign

Joppy Momma’s Farm is the perfect setting for a Thanksgiving dinner giveaway of the most nutritious and delicious food available. The farm is located on the property of a special lady that everyone in the neighborhood called “Joppy Momma” because she was so inviting and encouraged and enjoyed everyone that came to see her. While Joppy Momma was a grandmother figures to so many, she was Kim’s actual great-grandmother. She was one of the original seven families that settled the community of Joppa. She grew up gardening and cooking with her great-grandmother and joining her at the table for special meals, shared together. 

Though nestled between the lush wetlands of the Trinity River and the Great Trinity Forest, Joppa was federally declared a food desert by the USDA, meaning that stores with healthy food are not readily available for those that live in the community. The farm is in the historic town of Joppa, a community within the city of Dallas, six miles south of downtown Dallas. Joppa was founded in 1872 by emancipated slaves. It is one of the last Freedman towns in Texas. Although its history is rich, Joppa has endured extreme marginalization. It is a place where a big Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings, fresh and nutritious, have historically not been on the family tables in the community.

Two ladies standing outside looking at fresh produce

“This really is special to me to have this place offer so much good food to the families in this community that my family has been in for generations,” Kim said. 

The poverty levels are high in Joppa and the average age of Joppa citizens, death is 20 years younger than the average age of the rest of Dallas. This is largely attributed to lack of availability to nutritious food that supports a healthy lifestyle. 

Kim grew up in Joppa and knows all too well the challenges the community members face. She also understands the health risks and conditions associated with lack of access to healthy food. Both Kim’s mother and father were diabetics and died from complications of the disease. Kim and four of her five brothers have all also been diagnosed with diabetes. One of her brothers lost his life to the disease. 

“I had been working in the insurance industry for 31 years and I was an insulin-dependent diabetic,” said Kim, who is the mother of three children. She knew she needed to make some changes in her life to live her best life and be the best mother possible. 

“I know that nutrition plays a big part in diabetes, and so I decided to quit my job and become a farmer in Dallas,” she relates. “I wanted to grow foods that helped people get healthy. Foods that my family and I didn’t have access to when I was growing up.”

“I committed to growing good food and eating a healthy diet, learning new ways to prepare the food I was growing,” Kim said. “I took insulin on a sliding scale three times a day, but I changed my diet, and it changed my life. I have been in diabetic remission now for seven years because of healthy eating. Food really can change your life.”

Kim Gets Urban Ag Growing

Kim helped start Bonton Farms in 2012, which many say kick-started the Dallas urban ag revolution, with founder Daron Babcock, who started the farm for emotional health reasons after his wife died of cancer. Kim and Daron have since transformed the area and were the early influencers in the Dallas area healthy food and urban gardening interest. Kim stayed there several years getting the farm going with a good business plan and impressive production levels. She then moved her interests and talents over to Paul Quinn College, where she developed the We Over Me Farm, known for its location on the former football fields. They sourced select greens and other produce to Dallas Cowboys Stadium food vendors and Café Momentum restaurant. 

Armed with urban farm, start-up business savvy, and a desire to take things even closer to home, Kim launched Joppy Momma’s Farm in 2021. Her goal was to provide healthy, affordable foods for the community. She aimed to empower, educate and create greater opportunities for health, wellness and self-sufficiency through sustainable regenerative agriculture.

Through her decade-long experience building and growing community gardens, Kim has frequently worked with the NRCS staff, especially Dallas Urban Conservationist Michael Brooks, mostly for conservation technical assistance. Michael helped Kim with soil testing, nutrient management planning, irrigation water management, crop rotation, mulching and more.

“The expert advice NRCS has provided has either re-affirmed what I thought or helped me re-think something in a better way based on what they told me,” Kim said. “They have helped me be more productive, make informed decisions and be more productive year-round, all of which affects the farm’s financial sustainability.”  

Planting Seeds for the Future

With her USDA People’s Garden grant, Kim has big plans for the property to offer even more to the community. She will work with NRCS staff to design and install a high tunnel so she can grow some of the most popular produce throughout the winter months under the protection of the structure. She is working with NRCS Urban Engineer Mikela Prior to install a rainfall collection system to capture rainwater in a storage tank so it can be used to water the garden.

“What I’m really excited about is that I want to build an outdoor kitchen here and have cooking classes,” she said, her eyes big with excitement. “We grow this wonderful food, but because the community has had little access to it, they don’t know how to prepare it. It’s going to be so awesome to be able to show them how to cook delicious food for their families. And then their children will learn about it, and it will have generational effects. It's something fun for families to do together too.”

Kim’s idea list for the farm is long and growing. One of the attendees at the recent People’s Garden groundbreaking ceremony offered to come to the farm and do canning classes.

“Won’t that be great?” Kim asked. “We can show them how to cook dishes now and then can the produce for use later. That will be so awesome.”

Kim has hosted many workshops at the farm and plans to host educational classes about agriculture and various aspects of gardening such as composting, solarizing the soil as a weed preventative, water conservation methods and more.

Grateful, Thankful and Blessed

As the clock ticks closer to noon, dozens of volunteers from both Joppy Momma’s Farm and the Oak Cliff Veggie Project show up at the farm to help sort and pack bags and distribute the food. Other urban farmers show up with truck loads of fresh green beans, oranges, tomatoes, and other fresh produce.  Frozen turkeys are stacked high, ready to be dispersed into the community.

a frozen turkey on a box

The distribution is done drive through style with the volunteers taking each the produce and turkeys to each car. Children in the cars have big smiles, excited with anticipation at what the turkey dinner is going to be like in their home.  The volunteers greet everyone in the car as they help load the abundance of food into each one.

As the cars trickle through the line, it is evident they are leaving the Turkey Giveaway Day with much more than just food. The cars are being loaded with hope, with health, with support, with a sense of family and a community that cares for each other.

They are leaving with a true feeling of thanksgiving. Joppy Momma would be proud. Its almost like everyone in those cars had a seat at her table for Thanksgiving, and she is sharing the best of the best with all of them.

Kim’s theme for the farm is “Help us make change in the world around us.” And it is evident she is doing just that.

USDA is working to increase urban agriculture as it plays an important role in growing not only fresh, healthy produce, but also providing jobs, beautifying their neighborhoods, and offering access to fresh, healthy food in areas where grocery stores are scarce.

Visit the USDA People’s Gardens website for more information.

Visit Home - Joppy Momma's Farm ( for more information on location and hours of operation.