Community Garden

The community garden where people from all over North Texas can learn how to sustainably grow their own fruits and vegetables opened October 2015 and is located directly east of The Shed. The American Heart Association (AHA), in collaboration with numerous Dallas community partners, broke ground Saturday, Oct. 3, at 10:30 a.m. on its first AHA Teaching Garden to be located at a farmers market. Mama Ida’s Teaching Garden at the Dallas Farmers Market offers custom-designed educational programs for people of all ages.

The space is named for Ida Papert, or “Mama Ida,” and is a local legend at the Dallas Farmers Market. The tireless work of this long-time supporter — she started shopping at the DFM in 1953 and formed the Dallas Farmers Market Friends in 1991 — is a big part of why Dallas gets to enjoy fresh produce today. Papert was more than just a shopper; she was a local matriarch. She could be found at the market every Saturday morning carrying her personalized bag that said “Ida’s Gotta Have It,” filled to the brim with produce. She delivered preserves to each stall, made from produce bought at the market. She took this passion for the farmers and enthusiasm for the market and created the Friends of the Farmers Market, a nonprofit advocacy group. In 1993, she joined forces with the American Institute of Wine & Food to start the market cooking classes enjoyed by enthusiastic foodies.

To honor Mama Ida’s memory and carry on her tradition of purchasing from each farmer at the weekend market, DFM has a weekly Mama Ida walk and is producing a special bag. The waterproof bag can support up to 135 pounds, and proceeds from its $65 price fund Mama Ida’s Teaching Garden, a community garden cared for by local urban farm, Bonton Farms. Shop the Dallas Farmers Market together and join fellow fans for a Mama Ida Walk every Saturday at 11am. Meet at the information booth (look for the red tent!) in The Shed at 10:45am or send an email to 

The garden was funded by the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a leading charitable organization of the entertainment industry that harnesses the collective power of the entire industry to raise awareness and funds for critical health, educational and social issues. Downtown Dallas Inc. provided dozens of tools for the build, including shovels, rakes, buckets, trowels, wheelbarrows and more. The garden helps to fulfill our mission to ensure the Dallas Farmers Market is a community space rich with activity for our all our neighbors to experience and appreciate fresh, local foods.

Get Involved!

Students and adults maintain the space year-round, as it is a North Texas Food Bank partner garden for participants seeking volunteer opportunities.