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10 acres of reclaimed mine land repurposed to feed local communities

Texan by Nature, a conservation nonprofit organization, is joining forces with NRG Energy, a Houston-based energy company, to build the NRG Dewey Prairie Garden, a 10-acre farm located on a fully reclaimed area of the company’s lignite mine. The garden, which is expected to yield up to 10,000 pounds of fresh produce per year for the community in and around Jewett, Texas breaks ground this month on an initial one-acre plot, with planting scheduled for late summer and the first harvest expected this fall.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Feeding America, the three-county area surrounding Jewett is a food desert, with many residents living more than ten miles from the nearest grocery store. Food insecurity rates here are 51 percent higher than the national average. The garden will provide produce to local food pantries, supplying healthy food for up to an estimated 3,000 people every year.

“Beyond our standard reclamation practices, we wanted to find a way to benefit the community over the long-term. We’re excited to partner with Texan by Nature to realize this vision in a special community that’s been part of the NRG family for 40 years,” said Chris Moser, Executive Vice President of Operations of NRG Energy. “The NRG Dewey Prairie Garden will benefit the community by growing fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs while helping teach residents of all ages about agriculture and nutrition.”

A leader in collaborative conservation initiatives, Texan by Nature is managing the project in partnership with local organizations including local agricultural extension offices, a coalition of area food banks, and Master Gardeners. It will be a unique educational resource for local K- 12 schools. Additionally, the project will serve as a model for how businesses and local charities can partner to tackle rural food insecurity and conservation education elsewhere in Texas.

“Most of our clients are unable to regularly buy fresh fruits and vegetables, due to the cost. Thanks to the support of NRG and Texan by Nature, the garden will be a true blessing for all of us,” says Kathleen Buchanan of The Lord’s Pantry of Leon County.

In addition to accessible raised beds, the garden will include a rainwater harvesting system and a repurposed solar array to provide power. Native pollinator plants are also incorporated into the design to provide habitat for butterflies and other pollinators.

For more information, visit http://nrgdeweygarden.org or contact Texan by Nature Project Manager, Amy Snelgrove, at amy@texanbynature.org.

About NRG Energy
At NRG, we generate electricity and provide energy solutions and natural gas to
millions of customers through our diverse portfolio of retail brands. A Fortune 500 company, operating in the United States and Canada, NRG delivers innovative solutions while advocating for competitive energy markets and customer choice, working towards a sustainable energy future. More information is available at www.nrg.com.

About Texan by Nature

Texan by Nature, founded by former First Lady Laura Bush, brings conservation and business together, acting as an accelerator for conservation groups and a strategic partner for business. Our projects and programs have impacted 7 million plus people, 20 million acres, and all of Texas’ 254 counties over the last two years. Get involved and learn more at texanbynature.org.

Source: texanbynature.org