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Bonton Farms in South Dallas announces ambitious expansion plans

Bonton Farms CEO Daron Babcock speaks to crowd about new expanding plan Project Gamechanger
Solomon Wilson
Bonton Farms CEO Daron Babcock speaks to crowd about his expansion plan, 'Project Gamechanger'.

Bonton Farms, a South Dallas nonprofit that includes two farms, a coffee shop, a cafe and a farmer’s market, announced a $11.6 million expansion Thursday.

CEO Daron Babcock said the expansion will include affordable housing and other resources for the community.

Beginning as a community garden in 2014, Babcock says the farms have been a key source of fresh produce for a community shaped by systemic racism that faces higher rates of disease and poverty. He says many residents also lack easy access to transportation and grocery stores.

“We still have some very serious and real systemic barriers that have led to enormous suffering, dismantling any opportunity for Bonton as a community to thrive,” Babcock said.

The expansion is expected to provide a new 34-unit apartment structure, as well as triplexes, a financial institution and a health and wellness center.

South Dallas resident Kimberly High says she has diabetes, and volunteering at Bonton Farms has improved her access to fresh produce.

“When I started here, I was taking insulin… three times a day, and I am no longer insulin-dependent just by learning how to eat better and what I should put in my body,” High said.

Dallas City Council Member Adam Bazaldua says Bonton Farms sets an example for community projects throughout the city

“Instead of seeing development come and be the demise of the community, this development is coming to lift one up,” Bazaldua said.

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Solomon Wilson is KERA's Marjorie Welch Fitts Louis Fellow. He focuses on covering racial equity, women’s rights, socioeconomic disparities and other evolving issues of social justice in our community.