AIA Emerging Leaders Design A Healthier Community

Malnutrition is virtually unavoidable in an area without access to grocery stores or basic health services, but the Dallas neighborhood of Bonton, a 'food desert' located just ten minutes southeast of downtown, is trying to change that. With help, the community has turned to farming open plots of land, housing chickens and goats for eggs and milk, and utilizing hydroponics for fresh tilapia in order to survive.

Page Associate Principal Annelie Persson Call is co-chair of the Dallas AIA Emerging Leaders group, which partnered with non-profit Bonton Farm-Works, Manhattan Construction and Kimley-Horn to assist the community in building sustainable food systems in this impoverished area of Dallas. “This has been a very inspiring project to follow! I feel very fortunate to be part of a big change in our community,” Annelie exclaims.

The mission of Bonton Farm-Works is to create a replicable model to foster food sustainability through access to healthy, local organic foods and education. Various innovative urban gardening methods are being used to create a micro-farm where the local community can gain access to locally harvested food and learn about urban farming. The AIA Dallas Emerging Leaders class supported this initiative by providing support for the rezoning application to allow urban agriculture in the residential community.

Annelie participated in liaising with the client, team communication, and project design of two sites in the community. One site includes a schematic design package of “The Lighthouse,” a community center with programmed gathering space, outdoor kitchen, offices, restrooms and a small living quarter. 

The other design includes a layout for Bonton Farms with greenhouses, a water collection system, animal husbandry facilities and a training center with a caretakers’ quarter. The “Farm Site” is classified as an Urban Farm District, first of its kind in the City of Dallas.

In addition to seeing the physical changes at the farm, Annelie has also appreciated seeing the donations come in as well with the help of the AIA Emerging Leaders Program Class who put together a branding guide and marketing brochures for fundraising initiatives. For more information about supporting Bonton Farm-Works, click here

To see media coverage of Bonton Farms on CBS-TV, click here

To read about Bonton Farms in the news, click here