Building community owned and operated urban farms to address food and economic insecurity.
Many of the neighborhoods within Southeast Fort Worth lie within an identified USDA food desert. Nearly all of the restaurants are fast food, and within the 34.8 square mile area, there are just 2 grocery stores, and more than 100 convenience stores selling mostly unhealthy snacks, tobacco, and alcohol. Limited employment, transportation, and support services all contribute to high levels of food insecurity and poverty.
Through our initial exploration of this project we identified a few residents in East and Southeast Fort Worth that expressed interest in using their land for urban agriculture as a means to address the food insecurities in their community. A newly enacted ordinance allowed for land in the City of Fort Worth to be utilized for farming without the need to change zoning. However it quickly became apparent the ordinance had a few inconsistencies that created obstacles for permitting the farms. We also identified a need to develop specific resources catered to running a successful farm. Realizing this, our strategy led to the creation of Grow Southeast, an independent cohort focused on capacity building and support services to help each farm become a successful and self sufficient entity.
Grow Southeast provides support services and capacity building to help develop independent community owned and operated urban farms. Long term CoAct is working with the City of Fort Worth to update the urban agriculture ordinance and help establish a standard operating procedure so other residents may be able to navigate the municipal process easily. Our goal is to build a hub of resources so community members in Fort Worth can easily develop their own urban farms.