Dallas has one of the largest food deserts in the country and is also one of the most-at-risk cities for food supply disruption. This makes Dallas the perfect location to launch a coalition like Restorative Farms which was co-founded by Dr. Owen Lynch, a Hunt Institute Senior Fellow and SMU professor. Restorative Farms was started in 2017, but it is based on a cumulation of ten years of research on food deserts, food swamps, and urban Agri-Systems—some of which was done in partnership with the Hunt Institute, which focuses on Sustainable Food Systems as one of its three key areas.
Since its founding in 2017, Restorative Farms has launched a seedling farm at the MLK Community Center in South Dallas and the Hatcher Station Training Farm and Community Garden (HSTFCG) in Spring of 2020. At the heart of both the MLK Seedling Farm and Hatcher Station Training Farm is Master Gardener Tyrone Day, who is from the community and manages the farm.
The objective of Restorative Farms is to be a self- sustaining nonprofit farm that will not only grow local food, but train and grow local urban farming professionals. The MLK Seedling Farm produced 20,000 seedlings per year as of Spring 2019 and that number is projected to reach 40,000 by 2020. These seedlings, combined with the training that will be offered at Hatcher Farms, will ultimately provide the resources and training needed for people in South Dallas to start community gardens and keep them up and running. Hatcher Farms and the MLK Seedling Farm are just Restorative Farms first steps in bringing Dallas closer to having a sustainable local food system.
To read more about Owen and Restorative Farms, visit the website at restorativefarms.com . To learn more about the Hunt Institute’s Social Enterprise Program, visit smu.edu/socialenterprise. Check the Hunt Institute Digest next week to meet another amazing entrepreneur.
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Rachel LevittRachel Levitt
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