Bonton Farms receives $60,000 from Chile’s Round Up campaign

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Bonton Farms is a verdant gem. This South Dallas urban farm started as a neighborhood plot and grew into two fully functioning farms, a cafe and a vital community center. Bonton intentionally provides career opportunities to the historically underserved community, and its organically grown products are available to residents, local restaurants, at their own on-site cafe, and at farmers’ markets.

On top of that, last year founder Daron Babcock announced an $11.6 million global fundraising campaign, Project Gamechanger, to create a health and wellness center in the Bonton neighborhood near the farm, as well as a financial institution and 40 affordable housing units.

Last week, with the help of restaurants and local customers in Chile, they got closer to the goal.

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A view of the Café de Bonton, overlooking their garden.

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The restaurant chain, which is owned by Dallas-based Brinker International, sponsored a roundup program at all of its 80 DFW restaurants. Each time a guest paid their bill, they had the option of rounding up to the next dollar, with any additional funds going directly to Bonton Farms. Customers can add any additional amount if they wish.

“For far too long, Dallas has been known as the tale of two cities,” Daron Babcock said in a statement on the program. “Of the many disparities that neighborhoods like Bonton have historically experienced, the lack of economic opportunity remains at the top of the list. Bonton Farms is committed to disrupting these systems of inequity, which continue to hold back so many of our neighbors to this day.”

In 2020, Chili CEO Wyman Roberts visited the farm and determined that the mission and project was worth more than a spot check and developed a GROW Workforce and Development program. Through a five-session training program, groups of workers who were homeless, had been incarcerated or had other factors prohibiting them from working, received a certificate indicating that they were eligible for employment in a restaurant in Chile or elsewhere.

Bonton Farm’s roundup program then launched in December 2021 in just five locations initially. After a successful run, they expanded the program throughout North Texas to a total of 80 restaurants.

Diners offered more than $60,000, which was presented to Bonton Farms last week.

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