Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Promise of Peace Community Garden in East Dallas in peril
Fund-raising efforts are underway to keep the community garden afloat.
DALLAS The Promise of Peace Community Garden, founded by an idealistic schoolteacher in East Dallas to educate families about healthy lifestyles and horticulture, is in financial peril, said founder Elizabeth Dry.
Dry said that, due to some setbacks, the garden is behind on rent, and she's concerned the landlord will shut down the garden.
"I was already running on a fine line, and then we lost our revenue from Urban Acres, who did a coop there," she said. "We had an EcoFest event which we made free so that it was available for everyone, but we probably should have charged admission."
She does have a plan: to do a window decal.
"We're designing it right now -- you could make a $10- or a $20-per-month contribution for a year, have it deducted from your checking account, and if we got 100 people, that would be the rent and we wouldn't have to worry," she said.
In addition to providing gardening plots, Promise of Peace offers a free kids camp, cooking classes, and events like Okrapalooza, which took place on June 16.
Chefs like Blythe Beck, who did a class at the garden, say that what she's doing is important. "Elizabeth Dry is doing inspiring work and I want to help her keep doing it," Beck said.
"We are the only community garden in Dallas, bridging the gap between under-served children and more fortunate children," she said. "The children who come to our events and classes, it doesn't matter what their background is, they walk away with common knowledge of having a better life. We're here to transform perspectives and give people a sense of stewardship. Being an educator for over 30 years, I know there are simple solutions to bridging the gap between our under-served and more fortunate kids."
She said that involvement in gardening helps lower crime.
"The mayor has recognized gardening as a step towards decreasing crime because it's positive engagement, and no one has vandalized or tagged our space," she said. "I believe if we had community gardens in city parks, our crime would drop all over the city. It's bringing people together on common ground to get back to the basics. We're talking about kids, they're our workforce for the future."
She said that the garden has 28 gardeners, and has been visited in the past three years by representatives from more than 21 countries and 35 schools.
She's hosting a class on tomatoes with a brunch in July and a garage sale this weekend. They're accepting donations on items for sale.
"They walk away and may not always come back but they'll start something in their own neighborhood -- whether it's a garden in an apartment complex or building gardens for their grandma," she said.
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