I am moved and inspired by Bonton Farms founder, Daron Babcock. Bonton Farms is an oasis in the midst of South Dallas where poverty, crime, and unemployment rates are high. This farm is life changing for the Bonton community as it is creating jobs, supplying healthy food, and offering hope to its residents.
Daron was a successful business man living in a suburb near Dallas when he first started volunteering in Bonton. Daron begin visiting this South Dallas neighborhood every Saturday, but never felt like he was doing enough. Eventually Daron quit his job, sold his house, and moved to the struggling neighborhood to follow his calling and do more for the people of Bonton.
After moving to the neighborhood, Daron realized he was in the middle of a food desert with the nearest grocery store four miles away. With most residents relying solely on public transportation, Daron decided to experience the bus system first hand. After a three hour bus trip, he returned home with few groceries as it was all he was able to carry on the bus. This lack of access to food cripples the health of residents and increases their risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and cancer. This was an eye opening experience for Daron. In addition, he became acutely aware of the high unemployment rate in Bonton. Many of the residents struggle with substance abuse, domestic violence, criminal records, or other hard times which makes employers hesitant to hire community members. Daron decided to combine the need for food and jobs by starting Bonton Farms.
Since opening a year and a half ago, Daron has created three paid positions and a program for individuals who are ready to better their lives. To participate in the program, residents are required to commit to hard work and drug testing. Daron keeps weekly records of all participants who show up on time, work hard, and complete designated tasks. Since this program started, one member moved on to a security guard position and another received a college degree.
Bonton Farms is currently located on ten abandon lots in South Dallas and is working to expand on the eighteen acres they recently acquired. Bonton Farms is home to chickens, goats, turkeys, rabbits, and bees. The farm produces a variety of fresh, organic vegetables, eggs and honey which are all sold at local farmers markets and to local restaurants. A portion of the food is offered to Bonton residents at discounted rates to give community members the opportunity to include healthy foods in their diets.
Daron Babcock is truly a local hero bringing hope and opportunity to the Bonton community. He is incredibly dedicated and passionate. I sincerely admire all he has done and was honored to hear his story. I highly encourage you to visit Bonton and talk to Daron. The farm is open to the public and there are approximately a hundred visitors each week. Go see what all the excitement is about! Witness the amazing team work and the residents working towards change. While I was there I felt a wonderful sense of community and dedication. I also had a fun time feeding baby goats!
Daron is striving to keep the farm funded locally. There are many ways you can help:
- Share this post and raise awareness of the extraordinary work Daron is doing.
- Stop by the farm and offer your skills. Not just with gardening and farming, but any skills that would be useful for running a business.
- Stop by the farm, learn more, and make a donation.
- Order honey or shirts from their website.
- Make a donation online.