It’s that time of year again. As summer begins to wind down (though you couldn’t tell by the Texas heat), parents are preparing for their children’s eventual return to school. As we all shift gears back into the school year, we at FNS remember our many partnerships throughout the region, especially those within the Dallas Independent School District. One in particular I’ve had the pleasure to take part in is the People’s Garden at B.H. Macon Elementary in South Dallas.
During the previous year, we forged a partnership between the school, FNS employees and the People’s Empowerment Project; planting and tending a garden for students, teachers and federal employees. It was quite successful! The garden yielded a cornucopia of vegetables including zucchini, green beans and chili peppers. What a great feeling to tend the land and see the production of wholesome, natural veggies through your own hard work. It was obvious the children took a sense of pride and determination from their labors. It was not only a life lesson, but also fit the Obama Administration’s goal of ending hunger by 2015, as students were able to take food home, or enjoy it for lunch. It was an excellent and productive venture between FNS and Macon Elementary.
Now as summer comes to a close and the break is over, FNS has returned to the garden to get it prepped. I can say this, the weeds are as tall as trees, and we’ve had our work cut out for us these past few weeks. I blame the large amount of rain Texas received in July. Nothing we can’t handle, though! Thus far we have cleared about half the area, and then put down black plastic over the garden plots to prevent more weeds from growing. With the high heat, everyone arrives bright and early at 7 a.m., and work finishes at about 10 a.m. Then it’s off to the showers and back to the office.
Everyone here in the Southwest Region is very excited to see what the garden yields this year especially since we now have a consultant from yet another partner organization: Texas Agrilife Extension, Texas A&M System. Dotty Woodson is a water resources program specialist, and she will be providing guidance on proper planting procedures, so we can make sure the plants and veggies are the right ones for our soil. Check back with us for further blogs and updates on the garden. It is going to be a great school year, an even greater harvest!