There is a companion page to this post, which explores the quantitative work that was undertaken in Dallas. This post deals with the quantitative mapping, which is an essential part of preparing for UA. It establishes the basic argument that there is enough space, often of a wide variety, in urban areas to grow food.
I was invited to Dallas to drawn an Edible Map and help develop community gardens within the Vickery Meadow area of the city. The area, which centres around a junction called Five Ways, is also home to many refugee communities. I began by drawing the above map which established the main areas with the potential to grow food. A large barrier to mapping the residential areas was that there was no spatial data for grassed areas around housing. Landlords and the city just had no incentive to record grass as opposed to concrete or buildings.
The following four projects were established as a result of the above processes:
Trans.lation Micro Farm, Dallas
8361 Park Lane
In a small strip center located in the heart of Vickery Meadow, one of Dallas’ most culturally diverse neighborhoods, Citizen D has worked to transform an unused alley into a productive row of 10 raised beds. This project is a result of a partnership and shared vision with Trans.lation, an arts and cultural platform in the neighborhood that supports international culture and local economies, and the New Roots program at the IRC.
The raised beds are currently tended by locals who reside in the neighborhood, each bringing their unique cultural heritage to the space, hailing from diverse areas of the globe such as Burma, Mexico, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Vickery Meadow Community Garden, Dallas
6723 Eastridge Drive
Established in 2010 by a dedicated group of community volunteers who identified a strong desire to garden among neighborhood residents, Vickery Meadow Community Garden thrives. Citizen D assumed responsibility for running the garden in 2016 and is in the process of adding landscaping features to make the space even more beautiful as well as developing new education and community outreach programs. Most days, particularly on weekends, visitors will observe a group of passionate and skillful gardeners who originally hail from many countries around the world, including Bhutan, Burma, and South Sudan. The gardeners – all U.S. citizens – grow beloved plants from their native countries along with classic Dallas favorites. Most use the produce in their home kitchens and a few sell their wares to neighbors and friends. The Vickery Meadow Community Garden physically nourishes the neighborhood but sustains its spirit as well. The gardeners are able to use the familiar practice of gardening as a way to build connections and “roots” in their new adopted country, and the garden has become an important site for the creation of community ties and networks of social capital.
Skyline Farm, Dallas
7638 Forney Road
Located in Far East Dallas, this new Citizen D garden is located directly across the street from Skyline High School (DISD) in the Buckner Terrace Everglade Park area. At just over 2 acres, the garden will be tended by student and community volunteers. Citizen D is working closely with the Alfano family, who settled the property in April, 1947. Owner Joe Alfano, born in 1960, was raised in the homestead that still stands on the property, and he has fond memories of his uncle farming the land. Now, Citizen D will be re-introducing urban farming to this dynamic neighborhood.
Old East Dallas Community Garden
629 N Peak Street
This planned garden is nestled on almost 1 full acre of land owned by East Dallas Christian Church. Citizen D is in the planning and design stages of this garden, which will accommodate both community gardening and productive farming. Currently, our team members are conducting research with community stakeholders to better understand neighborhood footways and behaviors and to explore how residents would like to engage with an urban garden. This will likely include opportunities to community garden, to buy locally grown produce from a neighborhood farmstead, and to participate in programming and educational events. At Citizen D, context is everything. We are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to create a beautiful space that will engage and inspire gardeners and neighbors alike. Above all, we hope that the garden will encourage all who encounter it to think more deeply about the food that sustains them, their family, their community, and their world.