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Bonton, Take 2

Recently, I visited Bonton Farms again (for the original blog post on Bonton, click here). In the last seven months, a lot has changed; I feel like I’ve been swept under the feet!

This time, our (HPHS Student Council’s) visit was much more organized; the farm has been absorbed by a church organization, and this Saturday was called “Restoration Saturday,” in which some regulars split a group of around 70 sleepy volunteers to walk the goats, clean out the pigpens, lay out hay for the upcoming winter in the barn, and harvest the vegetables, which were sold to local chefs. I chose to help out with plucking leafy greens under the direction of our fearless team leader, who owns a farm!

Much has changed; there are now turkeys (!!), wall art was added, and covers for the garden were put up. Even in the garden itself, there seemed to be more plants ready to harvest; months before, the sea of green was merely a plot of dirt. It’s refreshing to see some positive change, especially in this food desert; I can’t wait to see the effects felt years after I stepped onto this farm.

While I was working in the garden, I talked to a radiologist who accompanied her son on this service opportunity; chatting with a doctor (and kale connoisseur) for this future doctor was pretty cool. She was very agile, quick-minded, and inquisitive–character traits I’d like to develop more in 2016! Working with her, her son, and our team leader, we made our way through the aisles quickly, sampling a few plants along the way; the mustard green-collard green hybrid exploded my mouth and nose with spice, a sensation I’ll never forget.

In the very beginning of the day, the coordinator Darren told us that we were to leave Bonton with a new relationship built–it doesn’t matter what else one did (or did not do), everyone was to make a new friend by the end of the day. Needless to say, I think I accomplished that task!

After the “day” of service ended, we headed to the rec center down the street, which functioned as the community living room. All the children were in the gym, playing basketball or football or making Christmas crafts. The adults were starting to eat lunch, and laughter filled the air. As each member was to donate a toy, StuCo amassed a roomful of toys for the local children, who will receive these presents in a special Christmas Day dinner. I wish all of them and my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

-MX

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Bonton Farms 

Hey, guys!

Today, with the rest of the StuCo family (who I don’t know too well), I visited a community farm in SE Dallas, one of many “food deserts” in the nation– an urban area in which there are almost no grocery stores or sources of fresh fruits and vegetables. With the help of a $30 mil. federal grant, the neighborhood of Bonton has been transformed; nearly 1300 people have moved into new developments (as seen in the background of the first two pictures), and two lovely fellas, Darren and Regina, helped start this community garden. There is also a new recreation and civic center within walking distance of Bonton Farm-Works that offers a space for events and an after-school program.

There were college students and local young adults watering the crops on such a hot day! It’s evident that everyone in the community appreciates the garden and its positive ripples, the “good vibes” felt throughout the neighborhood. Every few days, the children come to Bonton Farm-Works to help water the plants and, more importantly, feed the animals. Although we did not meet any of those children today, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to observe such positive synergy in a quickly-improving part of town!

The produce includes Swiss chard, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cabbage, and many herbs. All of the harvested plants and eggs are sold each week at the White Rock Farmers Market. Click on the farm’s Facebook page to learn more.

Now time for some pictures!

BELOW: Some lovely goats and dogs! Many adults brought along their children to see the goats and chickens (which you will see later).BELOW: This one’s my favorite!  BELOW: Chickens (around 200 of them)! These are able to roam freely throughout the day and are actually heritage-breed, not the kind that lays eggs in closed warehouses for shipment to large supermarket chains. A chicken at Bonton take 25 hours to lay an egg, and by the time they are mature, the farm should collect 8 to 9 dozen eggs A DAY (compared to 17 dozen a week now). 

Proud to be here! Thanks for the fulfilling weekend and best wishes, Bonton!  

~MX