Fort Worth women bring backyard gardens to 76104 residents
A group of women lead efforts to bring fresh produce to the backyards of homeowners who live in three neighborhoods within Fort Worth ZIP Code 76104.
Trice Jones and Alison Pope founded the Southside Community Garden group and brought in gardener Amy Meade in hopes of providing access to healthy food for those with the lowest life expectancy in the state.
Jones and Pope met during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 and spoke out during meetings at Fort Worth City Hall after a Fort Worth police officer shot Atatiana Jefferson in October 2019. Jefferson was living in 76104 at the time of her death.
“Trice came up with the idea for a community garden in this area because 76104 has the lowest life expectancy in the state of Texas,” she said.
They now have a group of volunteers helping them build and maintain the gardens.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram examined the area’s low life expectancy in a series published in September entitled “Life & Death in 76104,” which showed life in three neighborhoods south of downtown Fort Worth – Historic Southside, Morningside and Hillside. was recorded.
On average, people who live in the postcode will no longer experience their 67th birthday.
Many factors contribute to the inequality in the mostly black and Hispanic neighborhoods, including lack of access to jobs and food. Access to health care is one of the most noticeable differences. Although the zip code is in the shadow of Fort Worth’s medical district, immediate health care remains inaccessible for many residents due to poor transportation and high costs.
“We wanted to do something to change that narrative and bring fresh produce and healthy eating options to the people here in 76104,” said Jones.
The group has created 20 backyard gardens with the goal of building 25 this year. They hope to expand and plan to plant another garden on Thursday.
The idea of building the gardens in backyards instead of a traditional community garden was to provide those involved with instant access to food as well as learning opportunities.
“It gives people more access and focuses on the learning process so that once you are home you can spend time in your garden every day,” Pope said. “You don’t need transportation, you don’t need childcare.”
And the group supports those who have gardens by sending out volunteers year-round to help homeowners tend and replant the garden.
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Nichole Manna is an award-winning investigative reporter for Star Telegram who specializes in criminal justice. Before moving to Fort Worth in July 2018, she was a reporter for newspapers in Tennessee, North Carolina, Nebraska, and Kansas. She enjoys spending time with her two dogs, a dachshund named Opie and a three-legged terrier named Oliver. You can send her news tips to [email protected], 817-390-7684, or on Twitter @NicholeManna.