EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) — The community came together to support a local farm in their efforts to get approved for high tunnels by the City of Edinburg. 

Terra Preta Farm’s expansion not only helps contribute to the economy, but it helps fight dietary diseases caused in part by communities not having access to fresh foods.  

This week, council members have shown support of urban farming and have approved Terra Preta Farm’s variance.

“Because of all the outreach from the community the decision was opened for reconsideration,” said Shakera Raygoza co-owner of Terra Preta Farm. “Thankfully, the board saw the importance of this local food and the importance of the high tunnels for us as a small farm and all of the board approved so it was unanimous.” 

High tunnels are dome-like structures meant to protect tall crops like cucumbers and tomatoes from the elements, yeilding more crops. 

Raygoza says that urban farmers have the ability to reduce dietary diseases like diabetes, obesity and hyper-tension. 

“Because of that we can really reduce a lot of these diseases that we see in our communities that are really related to diet,” said Rayoza. 

Alexis Recalis, an urban ecology professor at UTRGV in Edinburg, says that according to a study conducted at UTRGV, the Rio Grande Valley has the ability to support itself.  

“We’re able to document how much fruits and vegetables we can grow here in our region,” said Recalis. “We actually can grow enough fruits and vegatables to feed two-and-half-times our population.”  

Recalis says that Terra Preta Farm doesn’t use pesticides; he says this protects the environment and the economy in the Rio Grande Valley.  

“Things like the conservation of birds and other biodiversity which is central to the health of our planet and also our economy—a lot of our economy is centered around eco-tourism for example,” said Recalis. 

Raygoza says that she is in talks with the city of Edinburg to make modifications to the city’s code to support urban farmers.  

Below is a list of local farms you can buy produce from: 

Terra Preta Farm (Edinburg, TX) terrapretafarm.com/ 

Yahweh All Natural Farm and Gardens (Harlingen TX) www.yahwehfarm.com  

Frontera Farmers Coalition https://www.facebook.com/fronterafarmers/ 

Hub of Prosperity (Edinburg TX)  www.rgvagroecology.com 

Nature’s Heartland (Edinburg, TX) www.naturesheartlandfarm.com