About Urban Farms
In 2016, the State Fair of Texas introduced Big Tex Urban Farms, a revolutionary, mobile agriculture system in the heart of Fair Park.
As a testing ground for the project, the Fair used an 80-by-80-foot area normally used to house the Gateway Pavilion during the State Fair season. Employees from various departments worked with a Fair Park-area company to develop 100 raised planting beds created out of products normally used for packaging and shipping.
By the end of 2016, the project proved itself to be a successful experiment by investing financial and human capital into immediate Fair Park neighborhoods and companies. It connects like-minded agriculture entities and provides fresh produce to organizations focused on hunger and healthy lifestyle programs.
Considering the dynamics of Fair Park’s numerous events and National Historic Landmark designation, developing a mobile solution for the farm was imperative to the program’s success. Through a partnership with General Packaging Corporation, the urban farm’s 40-by-48-inch beds were designed and manufactured by a Fair Park-area company. Each bed, created with a shipping-pallet base, is easily constructed by one person, optimized for storage, and moved by forklift.
Throughout the growing season, all produce (more than 6,000 fruits and vegetables) was donated to Fair Park-area organizations including the Baylor Scott & White Health and Wellness Institute in the Mill City neighborhood, Cornerstone Baptist Church, and Austin Street Shelter.
As of 2017, Big Tex Urban Farms has grown to 520 boxes, a 15×30-foot deep water culture bed capable of producing more than 20,000 greens a year, and various community locations throughout South Dallas.