In our modern food culture, most grocery shopper's attention tends to lean toward pricing, taste and labeling (not necessarily in that order). It's doubtful that many folks would be thinking much about dirt while shopping for the best price on a can of Beef-A-Roni at Kroger.
Be that as it may, nutrition comes from the ground. Healthy soil produces healthy nutritious food. At the downtown Dallas Urban FARM Park, we are building our own soil in what we call a Soil Reclamation and Healing Project.
The FARM Park sits atop a 2-acre asphalt and concrete parking lot at 700 S. Good Latimer Expressway in Dallas. Using donated wood chips, clay, shale and compost, FARM is engineering a thick layer of rich, living soil for growing and teaching others about fresh healthy organic food.
The base and foundation of our 1-acre growing plot is black clay donated from a local construction site during excavation. The clay itself is great, but it was filled with debris, such as concrete chunks, broken bricks, pieces of metal and even some glass.
Cleaning and recycling the clay was a painstaking process of sifting through the clay, and picking out the debris by hand. A large group of volunteers from different organizations showed up on the 17th Annual Freedom Day to help us speed things up.
Freedom Day Volunteers
Once cleaned, the clay is used as a moisture containing barrier, isolating the asphalt from the growing area. It will also be a component in the recipe for our soil planting mix of compost, shale and decomposed wood chips.
A group of volunteers from Tango Tab came by a few days later, after the soil was mixed and added to one of our growing areas, to help separate and husk our best homegrown organic garlic bulbs for planting while Steve prepared the finished bed.