There are so many organizations in north Texas that revolve around growing and gardening that I am frustrated. I want to do it all! In case you haven't noticed, this area is experiencing a mini-boom in small businesses related to local food. Now we just need the farmers to support them with produce!
If you are interested in learning to grow vegetables in your backyard, the Citizen Gardener program is a great option. During one weekend, two mornings, we built and planted a raised 4'x4' bed, built and planted a double raised 4'x4' bed in the lasagna method (pictured), built and filled a compost pile to the point that the next morning it was over 140F, and discussed rainwater harvesting. Not to mention the networking that went on while we were working. The class was only $30 and is well worth the money.
The DFW Truck Farm is a farm planted in the bed of a pickup truck. Donelle and Marilyn Simmons of Garden Inspirations in Waxahachie use it as a teaching tool and visit schools and groups that are interested in learning more about agriculture. Because it's such small scale, the kids can really wrap their heads around it. Marilyn and Donelle also offer a vegetable growing seminar that consists of four classes with lots of hands in the dirt training.
Feed Texas First is a grass roots organization that is concerned with food security in north Texas. As Marie Tedei of Eden's Organic Farm said: We. Need. More. Farmers. And that's what we are trying to do, using on-farm workshops, networking and mentoring opportunities to bring people interested in farming together to learn a specific skill and help a farmer complete a project. This year, Feed Texas First will be the beneficiary of Barn Aid 3.
NorthTexasVegetableGardeners.com is the brainchild of Brian Gallimore, who also manages the Citizen Gardener program in the metroplex. It's a place to meet with others online and learn through articles, interaction and events all over the area.
The Dallas Sustainable Living and Organic Gardening Meetup group has almost 600 members and conducts and promotes events all over the region. They cover everything that falls under the name "sustainable", and if you don't see what you're looking for, you can suggest it and you might just find some like-minded people.
Slow Money now has a chapter in DFW, and is looking for individuals who would be interested in being on the leadership team. This organization will be offering micro-loans to small farmers in our area. There will be a fundraiser for them at Elevation Burger (Hillcrest and Northwest Hwy) on October 24th.
Take a look at the Food Day Dallas Facebook page. There will be numerous events all over the area, and more are being posted every day. Food Day is October 24th and is being sponsored by Slow Food.
The Gleaning Network of Texas is headquartered in Dallas, and serves our community through coordination with local farmers and produce houses to acquire and distribute excess produce to needy families. They are always looking for volunteers to help glean - the Sweet Potato Roundup is coming up soon!
This list contains just a few of the groups currently active in north Texas. Please contact any of them and they will be happy to plug you into a project or group that is making a difference in our area. You never know - you might just be our next new farmer!