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Coalition’s Urban Agriculture Partners Team up to Make Fresh Produce Happen in Dallas Food Deserts

Kudos to our DCHS partners, The Sunny South Community Garden and GROW North Texas, whose efforts were featured in the WFAA Channel 8 broadcast report below:

DALLAS – Sunny South Community Garden is one place in the heart of South Dallas that is providing healthy food options.

“We’ve got okra. We’ve got tomatoes, we’ve got cucumbers,” Clarice Criss said.

The Garden is tucked in a neighborhood where quality fruits and vegetables are a challenge to find. “This garden is here in this community because it’s often overlooked,” she explained.

Criss is an urban farmer and an agriculture specialist. She is among a group of people working to address food challenges across southern Dallas.

“The access to the food that we have in this community right now, is not equitable to the rest of the city,” said Criss.

“If I want something to eat, my options are burgers, fried chicken, fried catfish. We don’t have access to fresh produce in this neighborhood,” she said.

Access to fresh healthy foods, and options, are what advocates are determined to make sure more families get.

Each Tuesday, there are large crowds packing the lobbies of local Women, Infants, and Children or “WIC” offices in Dallas. They are lining up to pick out and purchase produce at the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program…

…The WIC Farmers Market is a partnership with the non-profit Grow North Texas. After two years, it is now serving hundreds of families from WIC locations in either Oak Cliff or Pleasant Grove.

Susie Marshall is the executive director. “We are seeing an amazing amount of response to the program. This is the first time that this has been done in Dallas,” Marshall said.

Continue at the link below:

http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/dallas-county/wic-farmers-market-provides-healthy-options-for-families-in-food-deserts/482351184

Coalition Partner holds 7th Annual Fresh Food Day for Low-Income Neighbors

Ascension fresh food day 2017(Dabney)

Ascension Fresh Food Day 2017 (3)

Episcopal Church of the Ascension had an extremely successful Fresh Food Day 2017 this past Saturday, October 7th. This was the church’s 7th annual outreach event for neighbors living in lower income apartment homes along Whitehurst Road and the surrounding community. Over 350 adults and children attended the event.

The coordinators of this special day include Dabney Dwyer, Ascension Outbound, Jill Goad, Feed Lake Highlands and Diana Baker, Kids-U. The goal is to partner with multiple organizations and nonprofits to provide FREE fun educational activities focusing on healthy eating and lifestyle.

Some of the groups and organizations involved included, Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Feed Lake Highlands, Kids-U, Moss Have Beta Club, Richland College, Breast Bridge Network, Baylor Diabetes Health and Wellness, Junior League, Children’s Health and the Dallas Water Department.

In particular, a special thanks and recognition goes to PepsiCo and Sharing Life Community Outreach for the donation of over 1000 lbs. of produce! Participants were able to take home large amounts of various produce to include apples, bananas, potatoes, peppers and carrots! In addition, Equal Heart in partnership with the Texas Department of Agriculture provided 200 prepared take home meals for all children participants. Healthy snack bags where also provided to all by Moss Haven Elementary Beta Club and Feed Lake Highlands.

This piece was written and contributed to the blog by Dabney Dwyer, Community Outreach Liaison for the Episcopal Church of the Ascension

Community Leaders Convene for the 6th Annual Dallas Hunger Summit

HungerSummitAudience“Embrace the challenge” was the charge from key note speaker, The Reverend Larry James, at the 2017 Dallas Hunger Summit. Presented by the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions and hosted by Cliff Temple Baptist Church, the 6th Dallas Hunger Summit was attended by over 230 community leaders. Students, faith community members, non-profit leaders, health and education professionals, and healthy food access advocates convened to hear about the status of food insecurity in greater Dallas and the innovative solutions taking place to help reduce the problem.

Master of Ceremonies and founder of the community uplift organization For Oak Cliff, Taylor Toynes, deftly guided the proceedings which opened with a welcome from Marsha Mills, Director of Mission Oak Cliff, a community ministry of Cliff Temple Baptist Church providing emergency food and other services. The program continued with remarks from Coalition Chairperson, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who lamented that even after the strides made by the Coalition since its creation, children are still hungry. Reverend James exhorted us to empower those who need help to become part of the solution and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins rounded out the opening plenary with a call for compassion and collaboration in facing our community’s most difficult obstacles.

Breakout sessions were an opportunity to learn about the various initiatives underway in the Coalition’s priority action areas of child hunger, senior hunger, faith community engagement, urban agriculture and healthy food access. Participants heard about effective solutions occurring in under resourced communities to eliminate barriers to nutritious food and how they can support these efforts. Several of these presentations are available here:

 

A public policy panel discussion on the important role of federal nutrition programs, particularly SNAP, provided food for thought during lunch. Simon Powell, COO of the North Texas Food Bank, joined Metrocrest Services CEO Tracy Eubanks and Parkland Hospital Director of Social Impact, Vidya Ayyr, to enlighten us on how SNAP helps them fight hunger and poverty and promote health. Marc Jacobson, Texas Hunger Initiative’s Dallas Regional Director, demonstrated graphically the significance of SNAP as by far the largest anti-hunger program and pressed attendees to sign petitions urging lawmakers to preserve this safety net program. View this SNAP presentation here.

The 2017 Dallas Hunger Summit is a wrap, but our work continues. See you in the trenches!

This post was written and contributed to the blog by Wyonella Henderson-Greene, Coalition Coordinator

Urban Farming:New Take on Old Business

Posted by Katharine Bradley on Mar 20, 2017 at the Dallas Business and Resource Information Network

Traditionally agriculture is a rural endeavor with the average farm size in Texas of 532 acres. While current agriculture trends show farm sizes growing and the number of farms shrinking, the number of ‘small’ farms is growing with urban and suburban farming programs and opportunities expanding.

Have you thought about farming?

The US Department of Agriculture offers some important considerations prior to getting started as well as an online urban agriculture toolkit. To start any farm whether, rural or urban, there are some basic business guidelines to follow for effective farm business planning.

But, knowing local regulations, zoning and perspective is a key part of researching feasibility, and the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions has guides available online to help with getting started in the Dallas urban farming scene.

Continue reading here: http://www.thedallasbrain.org/blog/blog/2017/03/20/urban-farming-new-take-on-an-old-business

How one Dallas nonprofit is expanding healthy food access, one community garden at a time

Dallas Morning News
Karel Holloway, Special Contributor
It’s not necessarily about the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots. In many ways, gardens are about the good they do for the growers and others. It’s about the community.
That’s what the leaders of community gardens say.

“We all eat. We all make food memories. It’s a very important aspect of who we are,” says Susie Marshall. That aspect of food is very important to the community. It breaks down walls and breaks down barriers.”

Marshall is founder and executive director of GROW North Texas, an organization promoting sustainable local food production and healthy food access. It, in turn, is part of the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions, which has six programs to help reduce hunger in the Dallas area.

Urban agriculture — growing good food on bits of land in cities as a way of providing healthy food — also is part of the outreach.

Read more about it here:http://www.dallasnews.com/life/gardening/2017/03/08/one-dallas-nonprofit-expanding-healthy-food-access-one-community-garden-time