Meet Mary Goodman: June Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Coordinator
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IMG_0691.JPGSince joining the volunteer team, Mary has lent her time and talents helping to improve our foundation's office systems, increasing our everyday efficiency. Whether its data entry, research, document scanning, or stuffing and sealing event invitations, Mary offers her eagle eye and sharp wit to each project and contributes solutions to make a process better. "I really enjoy my work as an office angel," she says, "The work is not complicated...I find it very satisfying and the effort is always appreciated."

Born a first generation American in Newark, the most populated city in New Jersey, Mary embraced the city life, later living in Milwaukee and eventually settling in Houston. While working toward her Masters in Science at the University of Houston, her student office also served as an aquaponics garden. A city girl at heart, Mary was unfamiliar with farming and gardening. However, her close proximity to the garden peaked her interest in urban agriculture, leading her to experiment with growing oyster mushrooms in recycled coffee grounds. Mary's interest in urban agriculture lasted long after earning her Master of Science. While feeding her fascination with hours of research at the public library and online, she learned about Hope Farms. She was immediately enticed by the concept of increasing access to local fresh produce within identified Houston food deserts and training veterans as future urban farmers. "I knew I wanted to be a part of [an] organization that had the vision to do something like that!"

Having earned two undergraduate degrees and two masters degrees, Mary considers herself a "lifelong learner". She continues to nurture her curiosity about urban farming, setting up a small culinary garden at her 1930s Hyde Park home where she and her husband, Harvey, reside. "This is a real learning curve for me," Mary says about their front lawn converted to an edible garden that produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, including kumquats, apples, kale, and a variety of herbs all growing from raised or vertical beds. She and her husband now enjoy the benefits of a personal produce section just a few steps away from their kitchen and plan to create an indoor hydroponics space to allow for annual access to their favorite leafy greens.

Outside of developing her green thumb, Mary presently works as a psychiatric consultant. Several years in the healthcare industry including ten years working in healthcare regulatory compliance and risk management have helped her develop strong analytical and problem solving skills that carry over to her work as an office angel at RecipeHouse. Mary does not limit herself to weekly visits at the office but has assisted in event operations at our 2017 Dress for Dinner at Neiman Marcus and helped with event set up and d├ęcor for the 2017 Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet in April. In the future, she hopes to dedicate some time at Hope Farms, appreciating that the organization offers a variety of ways to contribute. "No matter what you volunteer to do, whether it is office tasks or working on glamorous fund raising galas, the staff always makes you feel your contribution is needed and appreciated. It just plain feels good to spend your time there."

It feels good to have you on board our volunteer team, Mary. Thank you for your dedication!

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