During the summer months, you could find a group of homeschoolers picking fist-size garlic cloves, green jalapeños, strawberries, squash, and kale during a volunteer stint at the NRG Dewey Prairie Garden. The local one-acre food garden lies about 60 miles east of Waco and has produced about 10,000 pounds of produce for a half-dozen food pantries over the last 15 months. Texan by Nature manages the project and claims to have served about 2,000 people in the surrounding counties where residents have few grocery store options.
Pantry customers have limits on how much produce they can take based on the size of each household, but never have to pay for the fresh fruits and vegetables they receive. Dewey Prairie Garden represents only part of a massive effort to restore the 35,000-acre former coal mine and has plans in place to expand the garden to a total of 10 acres over time. A mine reclamation company fills in the pits with soil and then plants native grasses and vegetation which they monitor over a five-year period, ensuring that both the soil and water contain no toxic materials.
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