urban farms

It was the 4th of July 2020, the crowds were socially distanced and the vendors busy attending to their customers in search of fresh food. Plants, meats, cheese, breads – it was all locally sourced from farmers and artisans in the area.

“It’s the busiest Saturday of the year” my friend says, as we make our way through the crowd.

When I think of places to buy food my first thoughts are stores like Walmart, El Rancho, and Kroger, not a Farmers Market. The two main reasons for this are location and price; they are far from my house and pricier. The experience of shopping at the Cowtown Farmers Market was different, there was a sense of community amongst those attending on both the vendor side and customer.

“When I think of places to buy food my first thoughts are stores like Walmart, El Rancho, and Kroger, not a Farmers Market.”

I never gave much thought to farms and the impact they have on the community. If you were to ask me what an urban farm was, I would have said a rooftop garden on a skyscraper in Asia. In my mind, any kind of farming was done in the country and not inside the city.

In my mind, any kind of farming was done in the country and not inside the city.

Opals Farm

– Opal Farms, July 2020

The first stop of the day was in my hood of Riverside, Opals Farm. It’s located on the Trinity Trails between 4th St. and Riverside Dr. It’s a great location for a farm, not many trees blocking the sunlight and sources it’s water directly from the river. Seeing a farm so close to home made me realize how much of my neighborhood remains a mystery, I always thought they were just large weeds growing.

Seeing a farm so close to home made me realize how much of my neighbor remains a mystery…

Have you seen this is a farm? Let me know if the comments below!

food deserts

What’s a food desert? Wikipedia describes a food desert as the following,

“an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food, in contrast with an area with higher access to supermarkets or vegetable shops with fresh foods, which is called a food oasis. The designation considers the type and quality of food available to the population, in addition to the accessibility of the food through the size and proximity of the food stores.”

– wikipedia

Food deserts are a thing in our city and located in neighborhoods which have only one supermarket within a one-mile radius of it’s residents. Supermarkets provide fresh food such as fruits and vegetables considered nutritious. Items such as snacks, frozen dinners, and fast-food joints are not considered nutritious despite being a source of calories.

Greater Mount Tabor

As the day grew hotter, we made our way into the Stop 6 neighborhood for our next urban farm. Hidden from street view, we parked inside the Family Dollar parking lot next to the farm. It didn’t look like much, it was full of trees and covered in mulch. It was in the beginning stages of cultivation.

– Taber Farms, July 2020

Making our way to the farm, we were greeted by Pastor Elvis Bowman of Greater Mt. Tabor Christian Center. His mission is simple, create a farm for the community that is affordable and accessible. I took a walk and imagined how the finished farm would look like once complete, sitting on roughly 3 acres the site was almost twice (maybe more) the size of Opal Farms.

His mission is simple, create a farm for the community that is affordable and accessible.

– JR

Visiting the farm and hearing Pastor Bowman speak reminded me of the Parable of the Sower;

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”Mark 4:3-9

And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.

-Mark 4:3-9

Pastor Bowman is planting seeds in good soil – the community.

Friends of Cobb Park

The last farm of the day was further out on the eastside of 820 – Friends of Cobb Park. This farm was much livelier than the previous two, it had animals!

– Friends of Cobb Park, July 2020

As we arrived, we were greeted by Mr. Cleveland and the residents of Cobb Park. It’s Mr. Clevelands mission to educate the community on gardening and addressing food insecurity. We enter the main stall area, the names Buster and Duke were etched on the stalls along with many others. Not knowing who was Buster or Duke, I showed them all love and and made my way towards the back where the chickens and rosters were!

Chicken and roosters run deep in my family, I must have been seven or eight when my dad first introduced los gallos y gallinas in our lives. I helped build the coupes in our backyard and raised them in the afternoons after school, my dad taught me to “darle dos punos de comida y una mas por cada gallina en la haula”. Three times out of the week, he would take my sister and I to an older mans home to help feed his chickens – the man was called “El Roy”. El Roy would pay us five dollars each for every visit which is a lot of dough for an eight year old kid.

El Roy lived on the southside of Fort Worth, alone in his late 70 or 80’s and was no longer able to feed his animals. He was a World War II veteran, I remember seeing pictures of him on a Navy ship somewhere in the Pacific and would have long conversation with my dad despite the language barrier – he was a friend of ours who later passed in the late 90s.

I relate with The Friends of Cobb Park, they’re a family run farm who work together to raise their animals much like me and my family.

final thoughts

The day was definitely and eye opening experience, one I will cherish for the rest of my life. There is so much progress happening in our city we are not aware of, people working for a better tomorrow with the hopes of bettering their communities. I’m excited to see what the future holds for these farms and look forward to helping out anyway I can!

For more information on how to get involved or volunteer, click the link below. Don’t forget to share, subscribe, and follow latinonestop on all social media platforms!

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