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New Program: “Compost for Your Life” in Fort Worth’s Historic Southside

By Dr. Brian Dixon

|Jul 12, 2019

The Historic Southside Neighborhood Association is proud to announce that we have received a 2019 ToolBox grant to fund a neighborhood composting initiative called “Compost for Your Life!”

With rich cultural legacies of the past to guide us into a green and prosperous future, the Historic Southside Neighborhood Association (HSNA) sees this as a “waste-to-wealth” opportunity that will turn household plant waste into sellable compost.

The horticultural, educational, and entrepreneurial skills that come from this project will directly improve mental health of participants, community involvement of neighbors, and alleviate poverty via sales.

At the heart of this initiative is a desire to foster connection with the soil beneath our feet—and with our neighbors who share the Historic Southside.

Why composting?

Composting is the simple process of taking our biodegradable food scraps—rinds, peels, most non-meat leftovers—and turning it into nutrient-rich soil that can be sold to gardeners and landscapers around town and shared amongst neighbors.

In Texas today, 40% of our food goes into the landfill. (It’s bonkers, I know.)

Projections suggest that Texas landfills will be full in 50 years. By composting, we could reduce our community’s landfill contributions between 25-50%. Composting is also known to be better for the climate by reducing erosion and improving the quality of local soil. I am also a firm believer that composting will bring our community together in a meaningful way.

Given the fact that our waste can literally be turned into wealth, we set about trying to find a way to connect the dots between a community composting network and the betterment of Fort Worth’s Historic Southside.

This program will include a robust marketing campaign to build awareness, several community events to teach composting best practices, and the ongoing community composting project with oversight by the neighborhood association.

The Story of Fort Worth’s Historic Southside

The Historic Southside in Fort Worth was once a center for African-American finance, business, and culture. By 1965, the installation of I-35 split the Southside into the Near Southside and the Historic Southside, creating economic damage along racial lines. Ever since, the Historic Southside has been poised for a revitalization that hasn’t come about yet.

I was elected President of the Historic Southside Neighborhood Association (HSNA) in 2019. We serve as the community liaison between this great neighborhood and the surrounding city.

We strive to overcome challenges like giving the community a greater voice in Fort Worth, celebrating our neighborhood, and, of course, enacting programs that provide economic improvements to the area.

That last part is often the most challenging.

Earlier this year we applied for a ToolBox grant on behalf of HSNA to fund a community composting network. And boom—we got it.

We will partner with The Alliance Foundation for Progressive Mental Health as fiscal sponsor to reinforce the importance of mental health and the health benefits of composting/community gardening. We anticipate using the connections we build with local (BRIT, Cowboy Composting) and national (The Institute for Local Self Reliance) organizations to reduce our footprint and facilitate a "green revolution" in our community.

The program is set to begin in mid 2019. If you want to get involved, you can reach out to us on our neighborhood association website: http://www.historicsouthsidefw.org/

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About the author

Dr. Brian J. Dixon

With accolades spanning my career as a child psychiatrist, entrepreneur, writer, and public speaker, I advocate for a more sensible U.S. healthcare solution that appeals across all party lines. I am a Texan, born and raised. My psychiatry practice, Progressive Psychiatry, is based in Fort Worth.

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