Volunteer Group Seeks Aid for Gardens


Southside Community Garden has set up 64 backyard gardens in the 76104 zip code | Image by WFAA

A volunteer group is improving access to healthy foods in Fort Worth.

Southside Community Garden is a grassroots group dedicated to creating garden boxes. The group wants to bring its initiative to the 76104 zip code in Fort Worth, the area with the lowest life expectancy in the state, with many not living past 67, according to WFAA.

This area is classified as a food desert, an area that does not have reliable access to nutritious foods. Over 40 areas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are classified as food deserts, according to a map made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The city of Dallas recently endeavored to solve the issues of its food deserts by commissioning a new mobile dietary clinic, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

During their latest meeting on February 21, the Dallas County Commissioners Court discussed the possibility of opening similar gardens in the city of Dallas to improve access to healthier food options.

Patrice Jones, the founder of Southside Community Garden, told WFAA that she had seen a study conducted by UT Southwestern regarding the area’s low life expectancy and had thought of constructing one community garden but reconsidered thinking that smaller ones in backyards would be more effective.

“You find plenty of Family Dollar, Dollar Generals and Dollar Trees which sell processed food and beer and wine, but they don’t sell fresh produce,” said Jones, according to WFAA.

The community initiative has been in operation since 2021 and now has 64 backyard gardens operating.

Henry Scott, a resident of zip code 76104 and participant in the initiative, told WFAA that he had lost count of the types of fruits and vegetables he has grown.

“There’s just something about the taste of fresh vegetables that’s so much different from what you may buy out of the store,” said Scott, according to WFAA.

Entities such as United Way, Texas Health Resources, and Lowe’s have aided in the start and continued operation of the initiative, but Jones said that the organization requires more funding.

These gardens each cost about $1,000. The organization was forced to shut down its online sign-up due to the demand for supplies and resources to create a garden.

“It makes me sad that we have to limit it and say no because we literally just don’t have the funding,” said Jones, according to WFAA.

The organization’s website has a page where patrons can donate to its cause.

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