We had the good fortune of connecting with Claire Howell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Claire, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
We started Balcony Box out of a passion to adjust the food system and ‘right some wrongs’ that we see there and in the business world at large. The timing of our business formation was very interesting because we were living through some of the food system issues that we had been hoping to change – it was about the time when food was flying off the shelves in the grocery stores and certain commodities were scarce due to the shut down – we were at the beck and call of the food production & distribution systems rather than being able to to provide for ourselves. We decided we wanted to be part of changing that dependency on fragile systems and work to increase self-sufficiency in terms of food production for our community.

Our way of doing this was to form a garden kit + membership program where we would give our clients everything they need to start growing in a small space plus all the education to help them along the way. We hope we work ourselves out of a job one day and our clients are ready to cancel their education membership and ready to grow on their own! 🙂 Perhaps it’s not the best business plan, but we feel it is the most effective way to create lasting education in how to grow food. At this point in our journey, we have broadened our scope to include garden design, consultations custom installs, and more. Simply put, we want to help anyone in DFW learn how to grow food in their space.

What should our readers know about your business?
Balcony Box was founded on a core value of doing business ethically and responsibly – both in regards to people and the environment. One example of how we do this is a commitment to the ethical sourcing of our products and raw materials. We source sustainably and from local and minority-owned businesses whenever possible – even if that means paying a little more. For example, our cedar lumber is all grown and milled right here in North Texas before we take it to our shop and turn it into Balcony Box planters! Our plants come from a local startup seedling company in Lakewood called Bobby’s Best Plant Starts. We source many of our oversized packing materials for shipping from Recycle Revolution – giving a second life to boxes before they head to the recycling center. We see business as an opportunity to empower others and take care of our planet. We try to take the opportunity to do that whenever we can!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, the food is one of the best parts of Dallas, so I would definitely be taking them to make the rounds to some of my frequented spots, especially those sourcing from local farms & producers! Some favorites are Parlor’s Ice Cream, Davis Street Espresso, and Cafe Momentum. If it were in the summer time, I would take them down to Mars Hill Farm for some flower cutting, or out east for some blueberry picking. Otherwise, we would definitely spend some time at our community garden and walking through some shady neighborhoods when it’s cool. Nice and chill!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One of my biggest inspirations is Polyface Farms in Swoope, Virginia. Joel Salatin and his family at Polyface have really paved the way in regenerative agriculture in the United States, helping to create affordable and effective systems to use regenerative agriculture to provide some of the best food possible plus working to reverse climate change through carbon sequestration in their pastures. While the Salatin’s are focused on this in rural communities and I am more focused in the urban agriculture setting, I have been really energized by their commitment to do what is right despite so many setbacks and people telling them they were crazy. It helps so much having someone to look up to who is farther down the road than me in this process; it helps me stay focused and keep after the goal of bringing accessibility to more holistic and healthy living for my community in DFW.

Website: www.balcony-box.com

Instagram: @balconybox

Facebook: BalconyBoxDallas

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.