Grow & Tell: Daron Babcock on Dallas Urban Farming

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From our latest Workbench Lecture Series, in partnership with Dallas Innovates:

Daron Babcock visited Dallas community coworking desk, The Grove, to reveal how he built Bonton Farms for the city of Bonton, TX.  Lack of proper nutrition has lead to poor living conditions in Bonton.

Bonton, South Dallas is located in a “food desert. One in four births is to a teenage mother. Bonton has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the city and county. Parkland hospital identifies this as the least healthy zip code in Dallas county.

Bonton Farm is a sustainable urban farm that arose after Babcock recognized Bonton’s core problems: agricultural sustainability, health education, access to healthy locally-grown organic foods, job training and employment.


In an act of desperation, Daron planted a farm in his backyard to help his neighbors who were falling sick from diabetes-related leg amputations, kidney failures and other nutritional health problems. The building of the farm caught the attention of an aquaponics systems expert that was passing through Bonton. The expert expressed his interest in building an urban farm using aquaponics systems in Dallas, because it has never been done. Daron agreed and the two partnered up.  From there, Daron began studying and researching theories behind aquaponics systems.  He and his partner networked with doctors, health inspectors and investors to build Bonton Farms based on aquaponics systems.

There’s no magic behind the innovative business model of Bonton Farms. It was simply a man who cared and took the leap. He quit his corporate job, sold his home in Frisco, TX, and moved to Bonton with the sole purpose of making a difference. No set plan. Just drive into the trenches and get your hands dirty. It was from there his empathy allowed him to recognize the market problem. Daron built the solution with hard work and networking.

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