Recipe for a successful community garden? Start with community. Add garden!

The Urban Agriculture Action Team of the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions recently held a workshop to develop dynamic community garden leaders for sustainable community garden projects.

Cultivating Community: Growing Your Community Garden was hosted by coalition partner State Fair of Texas in their new Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center inside Fair Park. Urban Agriculture Action Team collaborators Anita Mills of GROW North Texas and  Amanda Vanhoozier, founder of  the blog Just Picked Texas, teamed up to share their expertise on best practices for creating community gardens that last.

See tips for success here: 10 Steps to Start a Community Garden

More learning opportunities organized by the Urban Agriculture Action Team to increase local, sustainable food production are coming this year!

~Wyonella Henderson-Greene, Coalition Coordinator


She won’t be happy until she’s fed the world!

Kyra Effren is a north Texas transplant who grew up in England and South Africa. She is an accomplished classical pianist, a fan of BBC television mysteries, a chef who trained at the famed Cordon Bleu cooking school in London and a proud octogenarian.

Kyra was fortunate to grow up in a home where weekly meals were influenced by Welsh, Russian, Irish, German and Italian family members and caregivers. They introduced her to an array of culinary tastes that likely ignited her passion for food early. As an adult living in California, she taught cooking classes to friends as a fundraiser for her synagogue and her true calling was born!

Years later, Kyra would find herself living in London and attending the Cordon Bleu. Eventually, she would go on to open her own cooking school in Dallas, receive an award for her contributions to French cooking, serve 10 years as a food stylist and contributing writer to the Food Section of the Dallas Morning News and edit four cookbooks.

She is a long-time volunteer for the Jewish Family Service and the National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Dallas Section, among other worthy causes. As a collaborator with the Senior Hunger Action Team of the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions, Kyra helped write the curriculum for the innovative outreach project, Eating Well is a SNAP! This program teaches seniors how to eat healthily and deliciously on a limited income. She is the lead trainer and an active member of the volunteer Speaker’s Bureau that presents this program all over Dallas County.

Kyra’s daughter likes to say that her mother won’t be happy until she’s fed the world! Her mom’s been on this mission for decades and, luckily, shows no signs of ending her pursuit anytime soon.

This piece was written and contributed to the blog by Wyonella Henderson-Greene, Coalition Coordinator of the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions


Dallas Elected Officials Get on the Bus to DRIVE AWAY Senior Hunger!

The Senior Hunger Action Team of the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions recently invited area elected officials to learn about the problem of senior hunger up close. These special guests visited different programs in our community focused on addressing this critical issue during a bus tour that started at the VNA Haggerty Center, continued to the North Texas Food Bank, and concluded at the Concord Senior Center.

In Dallas County more than 20,000 seniors live in poverty, putting them at high risk for food insecurity. Seniors on limited budgets often find it challenging to regularly obtain nutritious food. Not having adequate nutrition makes it harder for seniors to stay healthy or successfully manage chronic health conditions, imperiling their independence and quality of life, and straining the health care system.Programs such as senior congregate meals, Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Meals on Wheels play a key role in providing access to healthy food for seniors.

Dallas City Council Members Casey Thomas II and Kevin Felder and representatives of State Senator Royce West, Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson had the opportunity to visit several locations to help them better understand how each of these programs serves the seniors in their districts. The Senior Source CEO Cortney Nicolato, North Texas Food Bank CEO Trisha Cunningham, Zach Thompson, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services and VNA President/CEO Katherine Krause pressed these policy makers to improve and increase access to these programs that help seniors. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, a long time champion in the fight against senior hunger, helped rally support.

The Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions brings together organizations and individuals committed to empowering residents of Dallas County to gain equal access to healthy food. The Senior Hunger Action Team, one of five Coalition Action Teams, unites organizations concerned about senior hunger. The Action Team members collaborating on Get on the Bus! included the City of Dallas Senior Services Program, Dallas Area Agency on Aging, Dallas County Older Adult Services, the North Texas Food Bank, The Senior Source, the Texas Hunger Initiative and VNA Meals on Wheels.

Check out North Texas Food Bank’s Facebook page for video coverage of remarks by elected officials, organizational leaders and seniors at Concord Senior Center about the importance of senior nutrition programs, including the Concord Senior Center’s congregate meals program.

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

SEEDING Dallas II: More Good Food for the City

SEEDING Dallas II, a sequel to the first SEEDING Dallas forum organized by the Urban Agriculture Action Team of the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions, ramped up the momentum for urban gardening in Dallas! Once again, current and emerging growers came together to network with each other and hear from garden experts. Veteran gardeners and farmers shared with over 40 attendees what they’ve learned growing food, managing gardens and selling at markets in North Texas. Three Learning Tracks covered a wide range of gardening skills and interests.

Growing a Garden included siting the garden and building soil, seasonal planting, container vegetables and composting. The following are two of the presentations:


Community Garden Management featured experienced community organizers who stressed the importance of engaging the community first for a sustainable community garden project. Successful community garden managers shared tips for funding and developing community garden leadership and volunteers. The following are two of the presentations:


The Market Garden track educated growers on what kinds of things to consider in preparing to sell at farmer’s markets, including safe harvesting and handling practices. Check out Harvesting and Selling: A Guide for New, Small Urban Producers for more information.

Stay tuned for more opportunities from the Urban Agriculture Action Team to learn and develop sustainable local food production in and around Dallas!

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

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: