How to Host a Farmers Market at Your House, with Help from Oak Cliff's Urban Acres

You could have (something like) this at your house!
You could have (something like) this at your house!
Kathy Tran

Compared with five years ago, Dallas has really stepped up its farmers market game. The Dallas Farmers Market Downtown has undergone a pretty intensive renovation, and markets in neighborhoods like Vickery Meadows are cropping up seemingly every other day, to go with the established local markets in McKinney, White Rock, Coppell and elsewhere.

Now, though, you might be able to take your urban foodie game to a new level -- by hosting a farmers market at your house.

Urban Acres in Bishop Arts provides community-supported agriculture shares full of organic veggies for foodies and families and foodie-families alike. Now the farm store-slash-restaurant is encouraging members past and present to apply for a "home farmstead," to turn their back yard into a farmers market for their neighbors to pick up their curated baskets of local goodies.

Urban Acres' home farmstead program is in its infancy, but they hope to make the process of participating in a CSA more convenient and community driven. In an email sent this week, potential applicants will need at least 10 friends who might be interested in participating in the CSA to qualify, and the decision for the home farmstead locations will be made according to location and demand. Potential home farmsteaders will also need some kind of shelter to cover the produce once it is delivered, but according to Urban Acres' applicant survey, a heavy cover of trees could be enough.

Of course, you'll also need to be passionate about Urban Acres' mission to "change our community through real food," and be able to commit to hosting a market for two or three hours every two weeks. Fortunately, though, there are some yet-unnamed perks for those that offer up their backyards as home farmsteads. We can imagine that they involve lots of locally grown kale.

Currently, Urban Acres operates CSA pickup locations across the metroplex, including Addison, Fort Worth, Frisco, Southlake and Richardson, but home farmsteads could create new opportunities for the accessibility of organic food. According to a 2011 U.S.D.A. study, over half of Dallas is considered a "food desert," where access to fresh, healthy food is limited. Adding convenient opportunities to purchase organic food in these neighborhoods can only be a good thing, especially if Urban Acres joins other community supported agriculture programs across the country in becoming certified to accept federal food assistance. If the Dallas Farmers' Market can accept SNAP, why not your backyard version?

If you're interested in hosting a farmstead location at your home, you can apply here. No word on how applicants will be chosen, other than "member demand and location."

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