Speaker discusses importance of community gardens


Tricia Bowes introduces Micheline Hynes at Sunday’s Poly Talks presentation about community gardens. Photo by Elena Maldonado

Polytechnic United Methodist Church welcomed the public to the sanctuary on Sunday as the Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) gave a presentation about community gardens.

Tricia Bowes, PUMC’s education committee chair, said the church invited Micheline Hynes from the Tarrant Area Food Bank’s community gardens.

Bowes said the church tries to bring in speakers a few times a year in hopes that church members will learn something new about their community.

“We have had people come and talk about elementary and young childhood education, we’ve had police officers, and now we wanted somebody to talk about the Tarrant Area Food Bank. There was a little bit of interest in general community gardens so we extended an invitation [to TAFB],” she said.

Hynes, who is in charge of nutrition services, spoke about the all of the different aspects and benefits of being involved in a community garden, and how the food bank helps the community through the garden.

Hynes discussed the financial aspect of building a garden, who can get involved, the benefits of gardening, and how the food bank works with communities who are interested in starting garden.

“There a lot of reason of why different communities have decided to do gardening over the past 10 years,” Hynes said. “[Community gardens] increase the access to healthy food that sometimes people have a hard time getting to. It can also help reduce obesity, promote general overall health, work as a stress reduction, bring people together, educate people on gardening.”

She also discussed how having community gardens can help with the problem of people not knowing where their next meal will be coming from.

“In [Texas], one in six families, and one in four children, are considered food insecure,” she said. “They might still be eating every day, but they are not sure if they will be eating every day. [The United States] is in a good enough shape where that shouldn’t be a question for anybody.”

Hynes said a large portion of Tarrant County is in a food desert by having grocery stores a mile or half a mile away from surrounding neighborhoods.

“We are talking about a minimum of five hundred people and/or a third of the census tract’s population is more than a mile away from a grocery store,” she said. “Usually we want a little more density for a population to be able to get to the store easily whether that be by bus, car, or by walking.”

Hynes said there are a couple of community gardens around the area for people to go visit and become involved with.

“There is PolyWes, who has been working to make produce, the Boys and Girls Club have a garden on their property, and there is also our community garden at the Tarrant Area Food Bank,” Hynes said.

Dr. Jane Moore, professor of mathematics, is a regular attendee of the Polytechnic United Methodist Church’s Sunday service.

She enjoyed learning about community gardens. After hearing Hynes’ presentation, Moore thought it would be interesting to start a garden of her own.

“My biggest hesitation in starting a garden is always, ‘Do I know enough about gardening to garden?’ I think the concept is wonderful and we need more of them,” she said.

Moore thinks the best way to encourage someone to participate in a community garden is by showing them the results and benefits from gardening.

“What is something that we always want to see? We want to see the results,” she said. “If we can show them and tell them, ‘If you work hard, you will have vegetables and produce to eat.’”

Moore likes the idea of Texas Wesleyan students getting together with the Polytechnic United Methodist Church to start an on-campus community garden.

“I think the church could lead [the garden] if the students would participate in it,” Moore said. “The students would have fresh produce, would benefit from it, and would be making contact with the [surrounding] neighborhood.”

Tricia Bowes introduces Micheline Hynes at Sunday’s Poly Talks presentation about community gardens.
Photo by Elena Maldonado
Church members listen to Micheline Hynes as she discusses community gardens.
Photo by Elena Maldonado