I’ve been offline with travel and looking forward to getting back in the saddle. Speaking of saddles, I discovered a great community of urban farmers in Dallas, TX. I would not have thought it but it turns out Dallas has fairly permissive laws for keeping livestock within the city. As such, backyard chicken fever is hot in Dallas. Finding myself there for the holidays, I thought I’d make good use of my time. I noticed an announcement in a local rag for a chicken sale event at the North Haven Gardens. Apparently, a neighboring farmer comes out with a trailer full o’ chickens of various ages to sell. Thusly, we met Dan from Bageniece Farms. I was surprised at the fair price, a laying hen for $20! Far cry from the crazy $40 I’ve seen around my neck of the woods.
I’ve heard from family that growing food in Dallas is tough because it gets so hot. However, I found a great book that lists the best varieties to plant and during which months: Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening by J. Howard Garrett and C. Malcolm Beck. North Haven had the right idea as a garden store. They have these sale events, they offer classes on city farming, they carry garden and food equipment and feed. I spotted gorgeous hand forged tools for very reasonable prices, ~$26 for a pitchfork.
The organic feed from Coyote Creek Mill was the most expensive I’ve ever seen though, $50 for a 50lb bag. The feed mill carries chicken, rabbit and goat feed though, all organic. That’s something of a surprise. I also met insanely nice people to talk to (one thing about the south is that people can talk to one another without pretense or inflated self regard). I got pointed in the direction of some helpful community resources, a Backyard Chicken group, a food co-op in South Dallas called Urban Acre, and some active community gardens, East Dallas Community Garden and Promise of Peace Garden. Even in conservative Dallas there are some promising urban agricultural communities!