DALLAS — Since its inception, Bonton Farms’ mission has always been to serve the underserved. With its plans to expand operations in South Dallas, the nonprofit’s goal to disrupt systems of inequity will reach more of those in need.

In closing out 2021, Bonton Farms hosted a campaign kickoff during which city leaders such as Mayor Eric Johnson, Councilman Adam Bazaldua and others showed up in support of the expansion project. Daron Babcock, executive director and founder of Bonton Farms, says Project Gamechanger hopes to raise about $11.5 million in an effort to bring opportunities to an area whose residents suffer not only from health disparities but also economic pitfalls.

“We need these kinds of game-changing investments in our city’s communities — especially in our historically underserved neighborhoods,” said Johnson on Facebook.


It was great to be at Bonton Farms this morning to help kick off Project Gamechanger. We need these kinds of...

Posted by Eric Johnson on Thursday, December 9, 2021

The funds will go toward sober living workforce housing, a health and wellness center and a community financial resource center. Additionally, the monies will help build more than 40 affordable housing units. Bonton Farms is no stranger to providing affordable housing options in South Dallas. Last year, two tiny homes were unveiled on the property— each roughly 400 square feet. According to Babcock, the base rent in South Dallas ranges from about $900/month and up in a neighborhood where 44% live below the poverty line. But, with his tiny homes, residents don’t pay more than 30% of their income for rent.

Today, Bonton Farms employs about 60 people. What started as a community garden in a food desert in 2014 has flourished into more than just an urban farm, farmers market, café and coffee house — but a place where Babcock told Spectrum News 1 that the women and men of the Bonton community get a chance.

“Language like ‘people deserve a second chance’ isn’t helpful, because they probably didn’t have a chance in the first place,” Babcock told Spectrum News 1. “Most of the people I serve never had a chance. The fact that they have a heartbeat and air going through their lungs is a miracle. What they’ve never had is the chance at having the right opportunity with the right tools to build a life with.”

Bonton has been known for its high crime rates, drug use and gang affiliations, but residents hope the project will help change people’s perceptions.

For more information about Project Gamechanger, visit https://bontonfarms.org/.