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Turning a football field into a farm

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One college turns its football field into a farm and sees its students transform Link

At Paul Quinn College, where once there was a football field, now there’s an organic farm. It’s not just a symbol of renewal for this once-struggling historically black college in Dallas; it’s where students work to pay tuition. As part of our Rethinking College series, Hari Sreenivasan explores how students learn to understand the expectations of a career while gaining a liberal arts education.

Update 2022:

Gridiron to Groceries
Small Texas College Converts Its Football Field Into Small Farm to Grow Produce for a Food Desert
2/19/2022 | 5:00 AM CST
Dallas-based Paul Quinn College may still have goalposts and a scoreboard, but the football is gone in favor of a community garden.
Des Keller Progressive Farmer Editor

A Chicago city girl through and through, Angel Potts can still scarcely believe she’s into her third year working at WE Over Me Farm, the agricultural operation that has taken over the former football field at Paul Quinn College, in Dallas.

On a humid, overcast morning, Potts is checking some early-season arrivals — the turnips — and reveling in the journey that brought her to this several-acre plot in Texas that still features goalposts and a scoreboard that haven’t been used in a decade.

“I never imagined myself out digging in the dirt with bugs crawling around,” said Potts, a junior majoring in communications. “I first came to this field with a friend as a freshman,” she said. “She had some vegetables growing here she was checking on. This place spoke to me. I was sold on the whole thing.”


That a farm on campus could serve the community as well as students was part of the vision by Paul Quinn President Michael Sorrell, who came to the school in 2007. The college was in precarious financial straits, and a not-so-good football team only added to the drain. He made the difficult decision in 2010 to discontinue the sport, but that left the school with an unused 5-acre plot of land.

The idea of transforming the gridiron into a farm came about from discussions between school officials and community leaders. The school is in Highland Hills, an area of south Dallas known as a food desert, owing to the lack of full-service grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

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