An old coal mine in Texas is now turning heads and changing lives.


What was once a sprawling 35,000-acre coal mine near Waco has been transformed into green goodness. The NRG Dewey Prairie Garden, nestled in this transformed space, is making waves and capturing hearts.

Run by the Texan by Nature initiative, which was started by none other than former First Lady Laura Bush, this garden has a lot to boast about.

Since its establishment in April 2022, it's already produced approximately 10,000 pounds of fresh produce! These bounties don’t just stay in the garden.

They’re shared with six food pantries, bringing fresh meals to around 2,000 residents monthly across three Texas counties. Given the limited grocery options in these areas, the garden is a beacon of hope.

Perhaps the most surprising part?

KUSJ-FM logo
Enter your number to get our free mobile app

This garden blooms where coal was once king. For over three decades, this land was dug and disturbed to extract coal.

By 2016, NRG, the company responsible for the mining, shifted gears and began sourcing cleaner coal from elsewhere.

And then, a vision was born - why not repurpose this vast land? Today, the once coal-rich ground is sprouting with life. And there's more to come, with plans to expand the garden over another 9 acres!

Michael Altavilla, the former mine manager, is enthusiastic about this transformation.

He sees this as an opportunity to change public perception about mining. Instead of just focusing on the environmental impacts of mining, he wants the world to see the potential of what can come after.

But this isn’t just about a garden.

It's about a commitment to the environment and to the future. Legislation from the 1970s mandates mining companies to restore lands after their operations. In line with this, NRG set aside a whopping $112 million to breathe new life into the old Jewett mine area.

Today, this space is not just a garden but is also home to thriving wetlands and stretches of healthy soil.

As it turns out, NRG Dewey Prairie Garden isn’t just a gardening project.

It's a testament to resilience, community spirit, and the beautiful possibilities that await.

Let me know what you think at

KEEP READING: Get answers to 51 of the most frequently asked weather questions...


More From KUSJ-FM