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A Big Thank You!

#GivingTuesday has passed. I want to take a moment to say thank you to those who were so generous to Opal’s Farm and all the other organizations working so hard to make our world a better place as well. The local PBS affiliate, KERA, reported that the DFW area was Number One in donations across the country with over $30 million in donations on #GivingTuesday. Way to go Forth Worth and Dallas! One more reason I’m proud to be from Cowtown!

Just remember, you don’t have to have a special day to give to others. It’s never too late to become a partner, or urban farmer. Your contribution is welcome any time.

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The Global Day of Giving – #givingtuesday

Thoughts from the Porch on #Giving Tuesday:

2018

It dawned on me after my second cup of coffee that November is almost over. I know.“Duh”, right? It’s just that I don’t know where the year has gone. It seems to have blown through here like last week’s cold front, chilled to the bone one day and seventy degrees the next. The race toward Christmas is on and the New Year looms large on the horizon

The holiday season is my favorite time of year. Not becauseof Christmas, mind you, but because of the introspection it brings. December 1stis more special than any other day of the year. It brought about a psychic change, a rebirth, and a new direction to my life. Ironically, it was the direction I’d longed for since my youth. “Lost dreams awaken, and newpossibilities arise”. They really do.

This past year has been unbelievably special. I began a new business, writing content and copy, and in doing so, I unknowingly unleashed mypassion. Through a unique series of events, I met some incredible people, Ms. Opal Lee for one, and began to see something I’d only dreamed about for a long time –an urban farm – become a reality. Opal’s Farm is that place – a place for growing, learning, and community.

 To be honest, I never imagined myself becoming a farmer. Mymother used to send me out to pull weeds as a form of punishment when I was young. It didn’t exactly hold pleasant memories. I never thought I’d come to find joy in it. But I have, and each of those gardens drove me to this amazing project called Opal’s Farm.

When I was younger, I left college full of ideals and ready to change the world. Most of us did. But as I got older and raised my boys, I became less idealistic and, if I’m honest, more cynical. The world I wanted to change became smaller and smaller until I was my world. That seems to be pervasive in our culture. Who of us hasn’t been taught to “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” and “look out for number one”? The more I bought into that world, the less I was part of this one.

It will have been thirteen years ago this December 1st that my world began to change. Circumstances brought me to a garden I started taking care of because I had nowhere else to be. I began to enjoy pulling weeds.To make a long story short – I liked playing in the dirt!

 Over the last thirteen years, I have been honored toparticipate in building and managing several garden projects. I’ve watched a face light up when a young man tastes a fresh tomato for the first time. I’ve seen community begin when people come together and relish in the first harvest. I’ve witnessed people regain health of body and spirit as they work together in the garden. I’ve come to believe that simple farming can change a life. It’s changed mine.

Our Mission – “Opal’s Farm restores hope andvitality to neglected communities through an agricultural intervention and education.”  – is becoming a reality. Right in the middle of the city, it provides not just food, but jobs and training as well. It creates opportunity. This is a model for conservation and sustainability, not just for Fort Worth, but for other communities as well.

Today is #GivingTuesday. It offers a uniqueopportunity to double you impact through Facebook’s matching funds. Please visit us at https://www.facebook.com/donate/2246575222246012/.Give today and help us change the world one bite at a time.

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Make it all sound good or just tell it like it is?

Photo by Adam Kontor on Pexels.com

Several years ago, the comic George Carlin did a stand-up routine about our changing vocabulary. You know, how we sanitize terms to make them soundless harsh. “Shell-shock” became “battle fatigue” and later, post-traumatic stress disorder. Sounds so much better, right?

I always laugh when I hear our local weather folks talk about ‘winter precipitation events’. Seriously? I remember when they used to call it snow…

 Now we’ve come up with a similar vocabulary for something near and dear to my heart – ‘food insecurity”. What does that really mean?

 It’s a nice way of saying your neighbors go to bed hungry. That’s right. I said your neighbors. And not ‘insecure’  – hungry

People right here in Tarrant County. They may be across town or they might be right next door. Our  neighbors…

Here’s another one – ‘food scarcity’.  It means that your neighbors don’t have access to healthy, nutritious food. They live in ‘food deserts’ – places where the only ‘food’ store is a local convenience store. The choices are over-priced and often unaffordable, canned, highly processed and ‘junk’ foods – foods that fail to meet even basic nutritional needs. Foods filled with empty calories that fail to satisfy even the smallest of tummies…

The bottom line – no one should go to bed hungry, especially the one in five children that do so every single night in Tarrant County.

So, what do we do about it?

 Opal’s Farm is part of the answer. Opal’s Farm is a two-acreurban farm on the banks of the Trinity River just east of Downtown Fort Worth. Opal’s Farm grows organic, healthy produce – distributing it in Fort Worth’s ‘food deserts’.

 More than that, Opal’s Farm provides jobs, training, and educational tools to address the issues facing often overlooked neighborhoods right here in Tarrant County. We believe that an agricultural intervention can make a difference – restoring health, vitality, and community to our neglected neighbors.

 In this “giving season” of thanksgiving and sharing, it’seasy to feel overwhelmed when planning year-end contributions to the multitude of wonderful non-profit organizations asking for help. I hope you consider Opal’s Farm when making your decision.

 Today, you canmake a difference – right here, rightnow, and for Fort Worth’s future. Opal’s Farm is a long-term, sustainable solution for all of us.

That’s why I’m asking for your help today. Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, the Global Day of Giving. On #GivingTuesday your contribution will be matched dollar-for-dollar, going twice as far to help Opal’s Farm keep growing. Go to our Facebook page today at https://www.facebook.com/donate/2246575222246012/

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Down On The Farm… #GivingTuesday

The holidays have officially started. Christmas decorations are springing up all around the neighborhood. My ‘Honey Do’ list includes getting the Christmas stuff down from the attic, too! One of my favorite days of the year is coming up on Tuesday. It’s only a seven-year-old tradition so I would like to spread the word this year —- especially this year.

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018, is #GivingTuesday, the Global Day of Giving. Every year, following the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA, #GivingTuesday is the official start of the charitable season. Many folks wait until the end of the year for their holiday and charitable contributions. It’s the perfect time of year for giving and philanthropic work. Since it began in 2012, #GivingTuesday has raised more than $300 million dollars from over 150 countries.

This year, #GivingTuesday means more to me than usual. This year it’s personal. I’m the Farm Manager for Opal’s Farm, a two-acre urban farm in the heart of Fort Worth. Opal’s Farm grows organic produce that’s distributed throughout area food deserts and low-income communities, helping restore health and vitality to local neighborhoods. A portion of the fruit and vegetable harvest is sold to local chefs, restaurateurs, and Farmer’s markets to support local farm-to-table needs and to help make the farm self-sustaining.

 The farm creates jobs, provides job training, and brings a spirit of entrepreneurship and self-reliance to the local community. The two acres of arable, urban land connects food production, processing, and distribution in the same space. This is basically from farm to plate; which is a win-win for the residents of Fort Worth and a model for other municipalities.

Mission Statement:

Opal’s Farm restores hope and vitality to neglected communities through an agricultural intervention and education.

Statement of Purpose

Opal’s Farm is a model for sustainable organic agriculture that:

  •  addresses the elimination of local food deserts and scarcity in low-income communities.
  • offers education in sustainability, soil conservation, food distribution, and nutrition.
  • creates jobs, job training, and entrepreneurial opportunities that provide a living wage for low-income community members.

A simple farm can change lives. On this #GivingTuesday, I invite you to be a part of the farm,  a part of the transformation.

Facebook has set $7 million for matching funds for your donation, so be among the first to donate and see your dollar doubled as far on #GivingTuesday through our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/donate/2246575222246012/

You can be a farmer, too and transform lives – one bite at a time!

P.S. Don’t forget that Facebook has only pledged $7 million for matching funds so donate you don’t have to wait until Tuesday to make your dollar go further. Give today and be a farmer!