Grow with Us - The Black and Indigenous History of Agriculture

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Civic Engagement

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Program Description

Event Details

The Skip Shockley Foundation & Oak Cliff Veggie Project Present: The Black and Indigenous History of Agriculture

Learn about the agricultural legacy of Black and Indigenous people through a panel discussion.


Moderator for Panel Discussion: 

Dawan Shockley:  Skip Shockley Foundation

Dawan Shockley is a Panther Legacy Cub of the Dallas Chapter of the Black Panther Party established in 1969 in Dallas, Tx and COO of the Skip Shockley Foundation. Dawan is also a member of Guerilla Mainframe, Former Chairman of the Texas Poor People’s Campaign, and is currently the Vice President of Commissary Is Very Necessary, Inc. a 501 © (3) charitable organization providing communal services and support to the children, youth, and families in our under-served neighborhoods who have incarcerated relatives. Dawan Shockley has a strong connection with the members of the South Dallas community and has dedicated years of services to support, educate, and service the people.


Speakers and Panelists:

Ples Montgomery: Oak Cliff Veggie Project

Ples is a Dallas native hailing from the Oak Cliff neighborhood. After studying advertising and sales at The University of Houston he moved back to Dallas and started working with FreshPoint, a wholesale produce distributor. Ples found his passion for agriculture while volunteering in the non-profit sector to eliminate food insecurity within his community. That work led Ples to co-found The Oak Cliff Veggie Project, installing community gardens and hosting free produce distributions and educational events. He earned his stripes working in multiple levels of food from urban cultivation to retail consumption. Utilizing his hard knock experience, Ples strives to improve the efficacy and efficiency of the local agriculture infrastructure of Dallas and build a healthier stronger more self reliant community. 


Tricia Ray: Candy Girl Chicks

Tricia Ray, local Dallas Small Farmer, started her journey in 2013 when she visited a local feed store and took home six chicks. Born and raised in Chicago Illinois and having a career in nursing she had to learn quickly about raising poultry. 

Quickly noticing the demand for already laying chickens and eggs, an income source was identified. The following year goats were added to the Farm.  When her grass disappeared, she learned how to grow wheatgrass and fodder. That is when the gardening began, and she sold excess plants at a local farmer's market. 

To sum everything up, Tricia is working towards her retirement plan to become a plant nursery. For the community, she would like to teach others to grow what they know. For the novice and small gardener, she would like to teach them how to produce an income. During this pandemic when her nursing job crashed, she was able to sustain from sales of products that she produced from her farm. 


Darciea Houston: Wholistic Health and Wellness Professional

Darciea has a passion for wholistic health & wellness, family empowerment, nutrition, farming, horticulture therapy and permaculture. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Paul Quinn College. Her area of focus was health and wellness with an emphasis on nutrition. She has certifications in conversation coaching, horticulture, food handlers and international resilience training for permaculture.

As a result, Darciea’s mission is to "Inspire Healthy Habits" as a: health coach, motivational speaker, panelist, farmer, curriculum creator, teacher and manager of a few local farm-to-table markets. Her vision is to wholistically & unapologetically empower individuals, encourage neighborhoods as they transform into health conscious communities.


Coy Poitier:  FAWC Conservatory of Arts and Sciences

Coy Poitier, is a talented and gifted leader that has gained many skills throughout his life and business. Coy serves as Executive Director for FAWC Conservatory of Arts and Sciences. This is a 501c3 youth mentoring Public Charity which was founded by his parents, Pastors Roy and Carolyn DeLoach. He is a graduate of the 2020 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Master Gardener program and a member of the Dallas County Master Gardener Association.

Coy and his wife, Katrina, operates the nonprofit’s one acre urban farm which includes 60 plus fruit trees, a vegetable garden, an aquaponic system, and a 10 x 20 sq ft greenhouse. Also a 20 x 48 sq ft high tunnel will be completed in February. The farm and Pleasant Grove office is utilized to teach students about urban agriculture and growing their own healthy food.

Coy also serves on the Dallas County Historical Commission, the Baylor Scott & White- Resident Advisory Council, and the Dallas County Medical Reserves Corps.  


Jerry Ra:  Vogel Alcove    

Jerry Robinson Jr. or, Jerry Ra as he is known in the local urban farming community, is our current Urban Farming Superstar. While double majoring in Soil/Crop Science and Horticulture in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences, at The Ohio State University; his revolutionary agrarian spirit was completely ignited when he met Will Allen and completed a certification course in Commercial Urban Agriculture (CUA) at Growing Power in Milwaukee, WI class of 2012. After his experience at Growing Power, Mr. Ra dedicated himself to a personal mission of developing urban food infrastructure systems in every city he landed. With 18 years of experience in urban farming, he has specialized in growing herbs specific to human diseases, fifteen different types of microgreens, vertical farming and aquaponics. To further serve the purpose, he formed The Urban Green University after moving to Dallas, Texas and attending several agricultural conferences, workshops, and seminar where the lack of the cannabis cultivation was not be discussed.

Mr. Ra current project is at Vogel Alcove where he is implementing their farm to school to table program. To date, what Jerry is most proud of, is, his ability in helping to unify African American farmers to compete within the cannabis industry. The Urban Green University is utilizing the hemp and cannabis industry as a catapult to eliminate food deserts and rural farm debt.  It is The Urban Green University objective to train, manage, maintain and sustain the new food system using philosophy of cooperative urban farming to create green micro enterprises. 


This program is available online only.

Grow with Us is a series of online sessions from the Dallas Public Library - Seed Library and Dallas Environmental Quality and Sustainability hosting expert speakers to share practical, informative, and inspirational information about growing and urban agriculture in Dallas.