Slow Food Dallas Wants to Plant a Seed
For Immigrant Neighborhood

Slow Food Dallas is planning to use a portion of the proceeds from its upcoming $100 per plate benefit dinner to help launch a community garden in a Vickery Meadows area apartment complex.

The local chapter has traditionally raised money to send delegates to the biannual Terra Madre conference in Italy, but co-leader Chris Tuck said he wanted to find a worthy supplemental project "that was close at hand."

While the organization's still working out details, the concept calls for putting a garden on a one-acre plot near a complex housing hundreds of immigrants from Thailand, Ethiopia, Liberia, Bhutan and the Congo.

"My thought was that we could assist in clearing the soil or building raised beds," Tuck explains. "I'm just thrilled the complex is willing to support it."

Tuck hopes the garden will be a place where newly arrived immigrants can teach their children how to tend herbs and vegetables.

"A lot of them have been excellent tillers of the land in their home countries," he says.

In a much-debated Atlantic article earlier this year, Caitlin Flanagan argued that immigrant children would be better served by spending more time in the classroom and less time farming school gardens. But Tuck says community gardeners aren't doomed to lives of manual labor.

"It makes their transition so much more enjoyable," he says. "If in assimilating into a new culture, one is forced to give up everything native, I think diversity is lost. And diversity is what makes this country great."

Tuck, who emigrated from the U.K., says the garden will benefit apartment residents who don't have the means to travel to a grocery store or who might have trouble finding the ingredients they're seeking.

"It will help these people enormously," he says. "If they can grow their own lemongrass, why ever not?"

Feast 100, featuring chef David Uygur, is scheduled for 6 p.m. October 17.

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