CAHS Dean and Farm Task Force Visit Dallas County

April 29 – Dallas County Cooperative Extension Agent Kristen Wells-Lewis hosted the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences Dean, Gerard D’Souza and the Farm Task Force for a “Lunch and Learn Day of Outreach” in Dallas County. The event focused on discussing best practices, farmers market, food deserts, and how Prairie View A&M University can play a greater role in innovative solutions around these issues.

The group convened at the Bonton Market Café on the Bonton Farms in South Dallas. Bonton Farms is an agricultural intervention to restore lives, create jobs, and ignite hope in the most forgotten and neglected neighborhoods for the most marginalized and vulnerable people. Bonton Farms has developed both a feasible and effective model aligning agriculture and community impact as it relates to issues around food deserts and food security as an engine to stabilize the economy. Their team transformed a small plot of dilapidated land into a thriving community farm, developed community programs, outreach activities, and secured enough funds to develop a community market in the same neighborhood.

Bonton Farms Chief Executive Officer Daron Babcock and his team led the group on a tour of the community farm, café, and the larger extension. Along with Bonton Farms, attendees also enjoyed presentations from representatives of the University of Texas – Southwestern, University of North Texas – Dallas, and Paul Quinn College, who are also committed to bringing urban agriculture into academia.

Dr. Jaclyn Albin, medical school professor and Culinary Medicine Coordinator at UT Southwestern, briefed the group on opportunities in academic research and programming with her presentation, “Translating Food into Clinical Science Through Culinary Medicine.” Jerrod Tynes of UNT-Dallas and Dr. Christopher Dowdy from Paul Quinn both spoke in depth on campus planning, best practices and the future of the classroom to the farm to the community. The day concluded with lunch from The Market at Bonton Farms Café and a visit to the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas.

The Farm Task Force has been charged with developing both a feasible and effective model aligning agriculture and community impact as it relates to issues around food deserts and food security at the university and its surrounding communities. From these discussions, this team hopes to bring a Food Security Summit to spread the wealth of knowledge to the PVAMU community and its constituents.

The College of Agriculture and Human Sciences’ rich tradition dates back to 1879 when Prairie View A&M University expanded its academic curriculum. That’s when agriculture and home economics began to pave the way for impactful programs that address some of the most significant challenges facing the world today. We are leaders in the true land-grant tradition of teaching, research, and service through core components such as academic, extension, and research. Students are exposed to a diverse curriculum through the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Human Ecology and are equipped to address complex social issues facing our world in the areas of food, agricultural, and human and natural resource sciences.

This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 1890 Extension Formula Program projects under Section 1444.

 

 

 

 

Kristen Wells-Lewis
Dallas County 4-H and Youth Development Extension Agent
krwellslewis@pvamu.edu