Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Elizabeth Dry’s community garden delivers promise of peace to East Dallas
To date, folks from more than 20 countries have visited the Promise of Peace Community Garden.
For more than 30 years, Elizabeth Dry has been an educator. She has worked in the public and private sectors at the campus, district, and state levels, and during this time says she has continually observed the natural engagement of all children to the environment. Through this observation, and keeping in mind the undeniable dropout rate of high school students, Dry says she decided to do something about it.
Enter the idea -- the Promise of Peace Community Garden, which she created in 2009.
Dry says her idea came about through her observations of a relation between dropouts and children’s overall diets becoming increasingly disconnected with the environment they live in. Buoyed by local community support, the organization has now been singled out by TEDxSMU and in numerous publications.
Located in East Dallas, the Promise of Peace Community Garden was created to educate families in that area about healthy lifestyles and horticulture. It offers a free kids camp, cooking classes by local executive chefs and community wide events like Okrapalooza. The event, occurring June 16 and offering live music on a solar powered stage and some great okra recipes, will happen at the garden and highlight the organization’s work.
“These activities in the garden inspire a sense of respect for self, community, and our mother Earth,” Dry explains. “I wanted to create a place where folks could gather together on common ground and learn to live in harmony with nature and one another. Our mission is to give our children a sense of place in the community and to help all of our families to live their best lives.”
Programs like the free kids camp teaches curriculum from the Junior master Gardener program to art and photography and is once a week on Sunday afternoon. Ages six to 12 can participate in the camp and parents are also welcome to stay with younger children.
For the June session, there are currently 10 spots open, and Dry says the kids will also be exploring wildlife in the garden. Children who commit to 12 activities will earn a Junior Master Gardener certificate.
The free cooking classes bring executives chefs and healthy cooking experts to the garden to educate families how to cook healthy at a low cost. Given that the garden grows all kinds of produce like tomatoes, peppers, herbs, squash, chard, lettuces, okra, eggplant, potatoes, strawberries, and corn, Dry says one of her favorite things is to share extra produce with local restaurants and community members.
“I became interested in gardening, as it is a context for all of the above to happen,” she says. “I know that if we do not educate folks who do not have access to Earth-friendly living and healthy choices, we cannot ever achieve a healthier and safer community.”
“A Loving My Community from the city came about at the same time and I decided to make it happen; the name means what it says: ‘if you surrender to the beauty and wonders of nature and what is 'true' in yourself and your own backyard, you will find peace.’”
Located at 7446 East Grand Avenue near White Rock Lake, anyone can visit the promise of peace garden. To date, folks from more than 21 countries, as well as 32 neighborhoods and 39 schools in the area, have visited.
“The most rewarding joy from the garden is the people and the connections that are made,” Dry says. “So many have come and gone all walking away with a new perspective or experience that will influence and inspire their life forever, but perhaps my life has changed the most of all,” Dry said.
Plots can be leased for $75 a year. For more information, visit www.promiseofpeace.us.
Pegasus News Content partner - Green Source DFW
- Mysterious restaurant called Remedy to open on Greenville Avenue
- New growler shop in East Dallas now open
- Theater review: We Will Rock You will blow your mind, and your speakers
- Review: Queen musical We Will Rock You has just the right camp and swagger
- Seafood restaurant Palapas opens on Greenville Ave with two big patios