The Seedling Farm at MLK Community Center

We are excited to share that Restorative Farms, one of the first social entrepreneurs in the Hunt Institute’s Social Enterprise Program, has been selected as a finalist for the American Heart Association Foodscape Innovation Awards based on their meaningful work in the South Dallas community. A panel of expert judges selected the top 3 of 26 innovative leaders across the nation that are working to build a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable food system. Now, it is up to the voters to decide which of the finalists will win. Vote for Restorative Farms here, and then pass the link along to your friends and family so that they can do the same! Support Restorative Farms in expanding their impact by making sure to vote before 10/15/20! 

According to a 2017 City of Dallas report from the Office of Economic Development, “Almost 20% of the Dallas County population faces food insecurity and lacks needed fruits and vegetables in their diet.” Restorative Farms is addressing this issue by establishing a sustainable urban farming system in South Dallas.

At the core of this system is the Seedling Farm at the MLK Community Center, which offers professional advice to local growers and provides them with a reliable source of affordable seedlings. Those in the greater Dallas area can purchase seedlings from the farm through Restorative Farm’s GroBox program. All proceeds from the sales of Groboxes are reinvested back into the system, thus supporting the sustainability of the nonprofit’s efforts. Due to the popularity of their GroBoxes, Restorative Farms has been able to subsidize boxes for community members and local churches to grow fresh produce in their own backyards. Moreover, the Seedling Farm’s various initiatives have created several jobs for community members, including a seedling manager, farm manager, seedling growers, and GroBox delivery drivers.

The second phase of Restorative Farm’s multi-stage plan is the Hatcher Station Training and Community Farm, which launched in March 2020. Hatcher Farms will serve as an aggregation hub that will package and sell CSA boxes with produce from local farmers. This will provide farmers with easier access to the market and help them reap more value for their product. Restorative Farms will offer CSA boxes to community members for a reduced price, and one of their partners will provide guidance on healthy ways to cook the produce. Additionally, the Farm will act as a training ground to teach local citizens how to grow and harvest nutritious food.

Looking ahead, Dr. Owen Lynch, co-founder of Restorative Farms and a Hunt Institute Senior Fellow, says that the goal is to scale the organization by creating multiple farms in the South Dallas area, similar to Hatcher Farms, that will be a sustainable source for both jobs and local production of food.

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