Making Fresh Produce More Accessible to All in Tarrant CountyIf people in a community lack affordable access to healthy, nutritious produce, they can pursue a range of remedies:
- They might try to convince a full-service grocery store to locate in their community.
- They could work with the city to help local convenience stores stock more healthy produce, or to locate a farmers market in their community.
- Or they might decide to grow their own.
That’s where Community Gardens & Urban Agriculture (CGUA), the Tarrant County Food Policy Council’s CGUA Working Group, comes in.
CGUA helps people grow fresh produce, both for themselves and for others, and we especially want to assist people who are living in areas that lack affordable access to healthy produce. We have created the following how-to-garden curricula that we offer for free on the TCFPC website:
- Backyard Gardening Curriculum
- Soils and Composting
- Planning and Planting
- Tending and Harvesting
- Container Garden Curriculum
All the curricula are specific to North Texas. Our backyard gardening curriculum also has summaries in Spanish.
One of the biggest challenges Tarrant County faces in terms of our local food system is that there are not enough farmers growing here to supply the demand for fresh produce. To help address this gap, CGUA:
- Helped develop and publish a new urban agriculture ordinance that lets people sell extra produce they grow in their own neighborhood and establishes guidelines for larger-scale urban farms along with Blue Zones and the City of Fort Worth’s Planning Department.
- Is currently writing and promoting a garden/farm-based entrepreneurship curriculum for high school students—partly with the hope that some of them might decide to start urban farms here when they graduate.
- Is developing and promoting various programs to assist existing local farmers reach wider markets for their produce, including supplying local restaurants and institutions.
- We also offer a free monthly newsletter, How’s It Growing?, that shares news about upcoming garden-related events, seasonal planting tips, and recipes for simple but tasty dishes that feature seasonal produce.
- And maybe, most importantly, we support folks who want to start new community gardens or urban agriculture projects by connecting them to existing resources, to knowledgeable people and institutions who can advise them, and to each other, so that we can all work together to make Tarrant County a greener, healthier, and happier place.
If you’d like to join us, please email the CGUA Working Group’s Chair, Dave Aftandilian, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or come to our next bimonthly meeting on Thursday, November 29, 3:00-4:30 p.m. at Tarrant Area Food Bank’s administration building, 2525 Cullen St. in Fort Worth.