About Big Tex 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 annual State Fair. Employees from various departments worked with a Fair Park-area company to develop 100 aised planting beds created out of products normally used for packaging and hipping.
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, connecting like-minded agriculture entities, and providing fresh, organic 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.
Big Tex Urban Farms initially operated between the Coliseum and the State Fair Administration building. As setup for the annual State Fair began, the farm was relocated to an unused area between the Errol McKoy Greenhouse on the Midway and the Texas Star Ferris wheel, ensuring produce donations could continue during the run of the exposition.
As with most experiments, various varieties showed excellent results, while others struggled with production. During the season, adjustments were made as needed to optimize production.
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 deep water culture bed capable of producing more than 20,000 greens a year in a 15×30′ area, and various community locations throughout south Dallas.
|As of September 18, 2017|