Rooted In: What’s Growing On?

Photography Jana Wolfe

Patrick Dickinson, Tamaron Hunt, Daniel Cunningham, Clint Wolfe

If you follow Daniel Cunningham—local Texas Plant Guy and editorial contributor to Edible Dallas & Fort Worth—you may have noticed when Texas A&M Water University in Dallas closed its doors last November. The team that ran the program had built a huge online community and educational network with an active and engaged following that suddenly were gone.

So they did what experienced gardeners will do…they replanted.

Given a new opportunity, they hit the ground running with expanded horticultural services and a research-based, holistic approach to environmental education and sustainable landscaping. With decades of plant and conservation expertise, this dynamic team–including Clint Wolfe, Patrick Dickinson, Tamaron Hunt, and Daniel—pulled together resources to create a fresh approach, and tagged themselves as Rooted In.

They’ve already “branched out” to partner with dozens of cities and community organizations, offering professional training, lunch-n-learns, and practical know-how. Their horticultural coaching sessions are individualized for home-scale or commercial landscapes, using the most current research-based information delivered in a way that’s easy to process. Classes are both virtual and in-person, on topics including composting, basic landscape design, growing fruit trees, butterfly gardening, rainwater catchment, and lots more. The recent Urban Harvest: Foraging in the City outdoor tour was quick to fill up and sell out!

Wolfe added that they now have time to focus one-on-one, spending time answering specific questions to set people up for success. “I think about my grandmother who would load up her cart with plants, and I knew she was wasting her money and time. When those plants don’t thrive, people get discouraged and think they’re not good at growing, that they must have a ‘brown thumb’. We want to teach them how and what to plant that will work. Especially now, spending time in the garden and having success gives people a brighter outlook on life.”

In addition to their obvious passion for sharing what they know, the Rooted In team is skilled at breaking down scientific and technical information in a way that people think “hey, I can do this!”

“We teach people who want to grow, who might be new to gardening or new to gardening in Texas, how to be more efficient while being better stewards of natural resources,” Cunningham explained. “We set them up for a win with the right plants, taking into account the climate, soil and resources those plants need, bringing it all together. It’s gardening made simple.”

And they’ve got lots of room to grow. “People are starting to see the value in sustainable systems– in our food supply, our watersheds, and thinking more about the environment when doing stuff– and everyone benefits from it. We make it easy for people to do the right thing.”

Dig into their pop-up plant sales and classes, plus find the latest tools to make your garden grow. / FB @rootedin / IG and Twitter @rootedin_tx

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Edible Dallas & Fort Worth is a quarterly local foods magazine that promotes the abundance of local foods in Dallas, Fort Worth and 34 North Texas counties. We celebrate the family farmers, wine makers, food artisans, chefs and other food-related businesses for their dedication to using the highest quality, fresh, seasonal foods and ingredients.