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The Garden Network of Tarrant County wants to improve local food access

This story originally appeared in the Star-Telegram.

“We founded The Garden Network of Tarrant County to help our friends and neighbors access healthy food—and to empower those who can grow their own,” said Neale Mansfield, Executive Director of the new 501c3 nonprofit organization, on its Facebook page.

The organization works by offering backyard raised bed vegetable gardens for $190 (an example from the organization’s Facebook page is pictured above). The Garden Network will build the beds, teach the purchasers how to grow fresh vegetables, and then connect them with local food pantries where they can donate a portion of their harvest to the hungry.

Donors can support the organization in this way, by purchasing a bed and donating to a family in need, or by doing both for $350.

The organization’s Facebook page states that in Tarrant County, 1 in 6 people often don’t know where their next meal will come from and that thousands of people in Tarrant County live in food deserts—neighborhoods without full-service grocery stores or other access to healthy food.

The organization official launched last Saturday by showcasing six urban gardening programs, including sites at the Salvation Army, Presbyterian Night Shelter, and The Villages at Samaritan House in Fort Worth.

“All of these projects represent precisely what the network seeks to accomplish. That is, empowering individuals to feed themselves, feed others, get training, gain employment, earn income and more,” Mansfield commented to the Star-Telegram.

ABOUT THE GARDEN NETWORK OF TARRANT COUNTY

To empower individuals and communities through gardening to improve local food access and food security.

Building on a one-for-one model pioneered by Toms Shoes, donors can buy one garden bed to help your own family eat healthier, and also a second to help a food insecure family grow healthy food for themselves. And the Garden Network will employ homeless people to build these garden beds, giving them a chance to help themselves by helping others.

Find out more on the organization’s Facebook page.

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