How it all started...
Organic Garden Center was conceived out of my passion to share the beauty
of nature, the simplicity of organic gardening and the hope of helping create a
safer place in which families and individuals could enjoy their little piece of
paradise at home, or wherever their paradise was found. It continues to be
my passion to bring safe solutions to people who have no idea how harmful toxic
pesticides and common home and yard chemicals can be to themselves, their
families and pets or neighboring properties.
In 2007, I looked around and saw that
there was not a source for locally grown, organic food of any kind in my
community, so I invited farmers and ranchers and Market Day was started.
In 2008, I took things one step further with the
launching of a local farm made possible through Community Supported
There is a big
demand for good, safe and organically grown local food in Dallas and a shortage
of small, local organic farms. Our food is being outsourced to faraway lands,
grown places that don't share our same standards for safe, organic foods.
"I've been working and playing in
the horticultural field for many years - over 2 decades - and I think it is time
for me to help feed my neighbors something they don't have a lot of access to."
There is a lot of news out there about eating local and eating organic, this is
a farm that is both local and using all natural methods to raise its crops.
Certified Naturally Grown, a grass roots organization of farmers, follows the
same outline as the USDA's organic certification process does, and in some ways
stricter, but without the costly fees farmers are required to pay to grow their
crops without the use of toxic chemicals. It is a peer reviewed
certification process and farmers help each other, visiting each other's farms
and ranches, assuring that the farmer is using the best natural methods
available. "We can't call our products "organic" officially - or legally -
but we know how we grow them and so does anyone who visits our place and knows
how strongly I feel about doing things naturally. I won't put anything on your
food I wouldn't eat myself"
The "crew" poses for a photo op while spreading
compost out over the soon to be Eden's Gardens. Eden's Community Supported
Agriculture group is made up of volunteers and working share members. (photo by
Another reason behind Marie's decision to farm stems from
her passion to make healthy foods available to anyone who wants them.
"Why should it be, or be perceived to be, cheaper to eat junk food than healthy,
safe food? Our kids are growing up overweight, sickly, and without
having hardly ever eaten a totally fresh meal, knowing where or how vegetables are
grown, what it is like to cook something from scratch - rather than opening a
box or package and popping it into a microwave oven - or that certain foods may
not be all that good for you, even though you can walk into a store and buy
Children are shown how to hold "Sister's
Daughter" one of our hens, while visiting Market Day.
"Seeing the statistics on our younger generation of children's incidence of
diabetes and obesity - which of course leads to a plethora of health issues -
has really tugged on my heart strings. I believe I have found a calling
worthy of answering. Quite worthy. In fact, I don't see how it
couldn't be an "official" calling. Surely, it is
putting people in place almost every week that are helping
make the pieces of this puzzle fit - making a reality of this dream to have a
sustainable, organic urban farm where many people will have affordable access to
real, healthy and healing foods!"
Eden's also has an area for Community Gardens where they
offer lectures on
nutrition, healthy well-being and teach cooking with seasonal foods
and fresh herbs, canning and preserving as well as gardening basics for kids and
seniors. It doesn't do any good to grow things you don't know how to prepare,
store or eat!
By putting a part of the land into farm production,
it also brings another local source of fresh, all natural produce to the twice monthly
Market Days. "I'm very excited to be able to work the soil for a
living and actually get to see the people who are going to be eating it!
It is a big step for me, (to farm full time), but I'm ready."
Marie Tedei, the founder and owner of Eden's Organic
Garden Center, the farm and horse boarding facility, has been into organics
and the green solutions for a very long time. Originally from the Midwest,
she remembers recycling and thinking "green" in grade school.
As a gardener, upon moving
to Texas, she quickly learned that fire ants are not at all like the benign picnic
ants back home, the soil was either sticky as paste or hard as a rock and yet,
the options for planting year round seemed endless due to the wonderful mild Dallas winter climate.
Located in the formerly rural
community of Balch Springs, an old farming town, "back in the day". Eden's
is bringing that "day" back by opening an organic farm right in the middle of a
fast growing city!
In addition to the many years at the "school of hard
chunks (of soil)", she studied at Collin County Community College in
the horticulture program, managed one of the industry leading organic garden centers in Dallas
for nearly two years, worked in
sales for a commercial landscape company where she encouraged and taught organic
practices with the crew she oversaw at the residential properties she handled in
far north Dallas.
Eventually running her own private gardening business
out of her all natural 14 acre "horse and chicken" ranch in southeast Dallas
county, she handled landscapes for several small commercial properties which she converted to organics.
After a short stint in far north Lake Highlands, a
neighborhood of north Dallas, Eden's Organic Garden Center moved back to the
farm in Balch Springs..
Marie celebrating the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
with family, (above-late father), and friends, (below).
spring of 2007, Eden's reopened in Balch Springs, where Marie also boards a few horses,
raises free range chickens for their eggs and enjoys a bit of peace and
quiet. "This is where I originally wanted to put the garden center. It is a fun place to visit and a great place to work."
adds, "I dare you to come and watch these crazy chickens and ducks and try
not to smile!"
The shop reopened with the same mission -
to share with others the wonders of the awesome cycle of life in the
garden - like it must have been in Eden; "..a Paradise
Marie Celebrates the
re-grand opening/ribbon cutting at the Balch Springs location in April of
2007, with friends and colleagues.
without the use of toxic synthetic pesticides
or "miraculous" fertilizers.." If there is a need to control a pest or unpleasant situation,
we look for the most natural, least toxic and inexpensive way to solve the
problem. Anyone can have a safe home and yard, without the worry of
dangerous pesticides or harsh chemicals or cleaners."
It seems every year, more of the previously
considered "safe" chemicals are being pulled off the shelves. We can
help reestablish the imbalance done to our environments with harsh
chemicals and soil stripping synthetic fertilizers..
Eden's Organic Garden Center is a small, old fashioned
style shop where you may see a
"gone to lunch but come on in and browse" sign on the gate. The shop closes down
for the winter season except for special orders and by appointments. "We'll meet
you if you need something, or if you're feeding one of the natural/organic
animal feeds we carry, of course we'll keep it coming through the off-season.
In fact, I'm looking to expand and carry organic chicken feed soon.
Eden's can ship or deliver products to those who live where organic garden
centers and the products haven't quite made it yet. "The organic movement is
growing and we want to be able to share what wonderful products we have in the
Dallas area market with folks around the USA."
"Anyone should be able to afford a bit of the
Garden of Eden's paradise, wherever they live." And that also means reasonable prices on products, full
instructions and when possible, follow-up calls to check progress. "One of my goals is
that we're never so big that we lose the ability to bring a personal touch to
our customers. I may not remember everyone's name, but we'll take good care of
you - like that cousin whose name you can't ever remember!"
Marie loves God's little critters, too.
find plenty of them running around the garden shop. Chickens and
horses can wreak havoc in the garden - but you'll find natural feed and
supplements for them as well as natural fly and pest control products at the
shop. "We've not had too much trouble with them, they seem to be content
eating bugs and weeds!"
"I try to live and eat
naturally and organically, at least as much
as I can, and I want my animals to
have that same opportunity."
Eden's Organic Garden Center is working to
reach out to the community around it with the community garden, free classes to the public or small
groups, hosting of a twice monthly Market Day and Marie still writes a blog on
various gardening topics found here. Old copies of the on
line Dallas Morning News magazine, and gardening articles may be
archived and found in the
Friday Dallas Morning News NeighborsGO Mesquite/Sunnyvale/Balch Springs
was past president for the Dallas Organic Garden Club
from 2007-08 and has spoken to various groups such as White
Rock Lake's "For the Love of the Lake", "Historical Rose
Society of Dallas", the "Sierra Club of Dallas", SMU Cox
Business School and at the annual TOFGA
"I hope to share some Paradise with everyone who visits
my shop, farm or who needs help with their yard. II Peter 1:3
says, in my words, that, God gave us everything we need to live a good,
full, and godly life. I like to think the organic way reflects
that scripture, and I try to live as naturally as I can!"
Pack up the kids and come and visit Marie, her farm friends and the slice of
Paradise she calls Eden's.
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