A college president took a decision to solve food problems by swapping their football field for a farm.
He was aware of the fact that many people in his community were having difficulty being fed so he decided to change this community’s future.
Michael Sorrell became president of Paul Quinn College in 2007 and that time the part of town surrounding the school was a federally recognized food desert, 6 miles from the nearest supermarket.
Sorrell said: “I just thought it was wrong,”
“In one of the wealthiest cities in this country, people 10 minutes from downtown should not be forced to grocery shop at convenience stores.”
A local philanthropist came up with the idea of a community vegetable garden and discussed it with Sorrell over lunch and offered to fund. Sorrell accepted the offer and terminated the school’s football program (despite opposition) and erected raised beds on the field.
Sorrell said: “We have 140-something acres of land, but I said let’s put the garden on the football field,”
“This was a way of saying, we believe in a different field of dreams. Our goal isn’t simply to influence higher education. It’s to influence society.”
The garden named WE Over Me Farm has since grown into a 4-acre organic farm with chickens, honeybees, fruit trees, a greenhouse and an aquaponics system.
Students manage this program as a part of the study under the guidance of a farm director. Approximately 60,000 pounds of food has been produced by this former football team.
The description of WE Over Me Farm reads: ”Located in a federally-recognized food desert, the Farm has produced and provided more than 30,000 pounds of organic produce since its inception in March 2010, and no less than 10% of this produce has been donated to neighborhood charitable organizations.
The rest supports community members, the College, and restaurants and grocers throughout Dallas.”
”In addition to providing fresh, healthy, affordable food options for its surrounding residents, the Farm strives to improve communities throughout the metroplex by providing hands-on educational experiences for youth and adults alike to promote healthy eating, improved food access, and environmental stewardship.”
”Under the guidance of the Farm Manager, the Farm is operated and maintained entirely by Paul Quinn student-employees, who actively engage in all farm activities, from business planning to marketing, and thus serves as a model of socially and environmentally-driven servant leadership and entrepreneurship.”
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