Nonprofit project transforms South Side park into urban food forest

Once completed, people visiting Padre Park will find trees providing food and shade

SAN ANTONIO – Padre Park along the Mission Reach section of the San Antonio River Walk is filling up with trees that will provide fresh foods for residents.

“We have pecans, figs, mulberries, plums, pears, loquats, persimmons. And in the future, we think we’re going to have all sorts of other things. Jujubes. There’s going to be Moringas. There’s going to be a lot of different black walnuts and interesting other crops that the community wants,” said Mitch Hagney, co-founder of the Tamox Talon Food Forest Project.

This is part of the Tamox Talon Food Forest Project that was initiated by the Food Policy Council of San Antonio.

The goal is to transform four acres of Padre Park to a food forest.

The nonprofit began planting the trees in February.

“A single tree can produce 2,000 pounds of food. So if one tree can do that, imagine what over 100 can do on a publicly accessible park,” Hagney said.

Hagney said the city’s Office of Innovation gave $25,000 for the project and several donors have contributed.

“We think that those trees provide great environmental services. They help water infiltration and they are really delicious. And they’re going to be able to feed a lot of people for a long time,” Hagney said.

Nadia Gaona, community health worker with Metro Health, said they have worked with several groups.

“We’ve gotten to work with so many different neighborhood associations, tribal groups, people living in apartment complexes wanting somewhere to grow and to learn about growing,” Gaona said.

She believes the project will help future generations.

“I think for generations to come, it’s going to help address food insecurity. It’s helping to reconnect people with our cultural traditions, reconnect people with each other, with the land,” Gaona said.

About the Author:

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.