Urban Acres Farmstead

UPDATE: We closed The Farmstead in August 2015.  It was a wonderful ride.  We miss The Farmstead dearly and are thankful for the time we had to be a part of the community.

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"In Oak Cliff, an artsy and diverse nook of Dallas, there’s a little farm store where friends and neighbors gather around a common interest — local, fresh food. The shelves are filled with Texas produce just pulled from the ground, farm milk with cream still on top, eggs and meats from pastured animals, artisan breads baked that morning, fair-wage coffee roasted down the street. Urban Acres is my and my husband’s labor of love, a business we started together two years ago, and I can say it has become my greatest earthly lesson on the beauty of growing and sharing food..." {continue reading my article, "Food As Gift" for Art House America}

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So I told you how my real food journey began.

It's amusing to think about eating organic produce for the first time, and now our livelihood is built around it.  After working in the music industry and then for an Africa relief organization, never could I have predicted this is what I would end up doing.  

 Photo credit: Oak Cliff Advocate Magazine

Photo credit: Oak Cliff Advocate Magazine

As we learned more and more about real food, we started to feel great and became passionate about feeding ourselves and our friends this way.  We began making trips in our trusty Volkswagen Rabbit to local farms to pick up things like raw milk with the cream on top, fresh-baked sourdough bread, organic berries and sweet potatoes.  And then other people in on it.  And that's essentially how Urban Acres was born - in a random parking lot in Dallas where folks would come to grab their items out of the giant coolers we'd loaded up at the farms.  We started the produce co-op with 17 families.

By 2010, we were opening our first Urban Acres farm store and had several produce pickup locations around the city where families could come get their bi-monthly share of organic produce.  In those early days, Steven drove the produce truck himself to the farms to pick up food and to the pickup locations around the city.  I scrambled to my computer during my daughter's nap time to catch up on customer service emails and write blog posts.   I even manned the entire store by myself one day with a toddler strapped to my back!  I'm amazed at how much further we've come since.

I still remember what it tasted like when I first bit into an organic apple...I was shocked because I suddenly realized I'd never actually tasted an apple before.  I remember when I first heard about things like kale and collard greens and discovered that beets could actually be incredibly tasty and completely unlike those gross magenta rubbery nuggets in steak house salad bars. It's important for me to remember what that was like - the beginning of my journey towards real, nourishing food - because every day we're helping people who are in that exact same place.

A few years ago, I wrote an article for Art House America on how Urban Acres came to be and the lessons it's taught me along the way.   

Today, thanks to our amazing Kickstarter campaign supporters, our original little farm store has moved to a new location in our same neighborhood and is now the 1/4-acre Urban Acres Farmstead.  There are now 3000 families in the Urban Acres community all over the metroplex who receive fresh local and organic produce from our farmers.

And the best part is, it's not because of our awesomeness.  It's because of the awesomeness of a lot of people who care about changing our community through real food.

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Most of all, I love that God has given our family this vision and mission.  I love that our daughters will grow up knowing where their food comes from and being a part of an extremely diverse community of people. And I'm thankful we can give this gift to Dallas.

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View more photos of the Farmstead from our ribbon cutting ceremony in January 2014 {with newborn Norah strapped to my chest!}