This may come as a shock to fans of Friday Night Lights, but Texas isn't all about football. At least, Paul Quinn College in Dallas isn't. The school took its football field and converted it into a working farm.
The WE Over Me Farm, which covers 57,000 square feet, was a response to the lack of healthy food options in the economically depressed area. Highland Hills, the neighborhood where Paul Quinn is located, is a designated food desert.In a short film produced by Handpicked Nation, College President Michael Sorrell says the community tried to convince health-minded grocery stores and vendors to come to the area, without success. Finally, they decided to take matters into their own hands. The football program had been cut, so the field wasn't being used. The conversion began in 2010.
The farm, Sorrell says, "challenge[s] the notion of what a field of dreams should look like." And it's more than a farm, it's an "urban food distribution network." It's worked by Paul Quinn students in three different classes and for work study; it produces corn, tomatoes, blueberries, squash, herbs, bees, and greens. The produce goes to the college cafeteria and restaurants around Dallas.
To further improve the community's access to healthy food, the College is creating a Social Entrepreneurship program to teach students how to farm, from testing the soil before planting to harvesting and selling the crops. The WE Over Me Farm is a terrific example of how a community can find a way to feed itself in a healthy, sustainable way, and teach others to do so as well.