2019 Archives

Tell Us A Story About a Meal

Recipe for Success
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Thumbnail image for 0109_RFSFashionInTheFields_111118_MCW.jpgFor the 14th year, we are encouraging fourth graders throughout Houston to put pen to paper for our story writing contest around favorite holiday foods. This annual contest encourages students to write thoughtfully and descriptively about their favorite holiday foods and traditions. It also focuses students on the importance of family meals while providing teachers with a powerful tool to support their core objectives in language arts. Additionally, it helps students explore the many facets of food and recipes, including step-by-step procedures and measurements, as well as their diverse cultural histories and family traditions.

Submissions are due by October 25, 2019. Teachers at participating schools will select one winning essay from their student submissions for entry in the citywide contest. One essay per school will be accepted by the Foundation. Advance registration is required through Jennifer Fridley at jennifer@recipe4success.org, and the contest is open to all Houston elementary schools. Schools implementing the Foundation's Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ are already pre-registered for the contest.

"Recipe for Success created our annual writing contest to encourage students to focus on the importance of building family food traditions and offering a fun, festive opportunity to practice writing skills that support state test standards," said Gracie Cavnar, founder and CEO of Recipe for Success Foundation Founder. "This is one of the cornerstone tools Recipe for Success uses to weave our healthy food messaging into the curriculum of our participating Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education schools."

The grand-prize winner will be recognized during Recipe for Success Foundation's Fashion in the Fields at Hope Farms on Sunday, November 10 and roll up their sleeves in January 2020 as Chef for a Day to prepare a celebratory meal at Bistro Menil, alongside Greg Martin one of Houston's celebrity chefs. The student chef and celebrity chef then share that meal with the student's family, friends and school representatives. The winning essay will be showcased online at www.recipe4success.org.

The 2018 winner was Nadia Rosado (pictured above) from MacGregor Elementary School in HISD, who wrote a beautiful story about her abuelita's (grandmother) "famous" empanadas. Excerpts from Rosado's contest entry explained how "Empanada's are one of the few foods that unites all of Latin American. I bet that my Abuelita's empanadas are some of the best in the world. They are simply delish!" For the winning story, Nadia got to spend a day being a chef alongside Greg Martin, chef/proprietor of Bistro Menil. The two spent the day in the kitchen, prepping a meal for the Rosado family.

PBS Features Seed-to-Plate

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Ernie in our classroom.pngCheck out this wonderful for PBS story by reporter Ernie Manouse when he visted our classrooms at MacGregor Elementary School.

Transforming Warriors to Farmers

Recipe for Success
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2019 Cohort cropped.jpegOur nation has a long history of welcoming our troops home and bringing them back into a life where they can work and study out of harm's way. We are honored to provide a unique career opportunity to these four outstanding veterans as they embark on their life's next chapter.

Today we announced the members of the second class of our Warriors to Farmers Training Program at Hope Farms. Four outstanding military veterans have been selected for this unique program which will prepare them to successfully operate their own urban farm and help us solve widespread food inequity issues in Houston and beyond. The 2019 cohort includes (pictured above with me at Tyler Froberg) Oriana Franklin, Samuel MacCammon, Stephan "Miles" Cook and Linda Stafford.

Our Hope Farms farmer training program is meant to expand the urban farming footprint in Houston and other cities and by doing so, make healthy, affordable food more accessible to all citizens. During their 2,000 hours of training at Hope Farms, veterans will learn how to utilize small-scale, intensive organic growing methods to maximize and optimize the production of fruits and vegetables and earn a good living to support their families on a micro urban farm. Houston's year-round growing season affords the veteran trainees with unique opportunities to understand and experience a robust four-season diversified fruit and vegetable farm, including planting and cultivation, pest, disease and weed management, irrigation, compost systems, harvest and post-harvest handling, quality control, poultry and egg production, beehives management and honey production. Veteran participants will also learn operational aspects of product sales and distribution including running an on-site farm stand, CSA programs, restaurant sales, and farmers market sales. Thanks to a grant from the USDA, veterans selected for the program are given the year-long, 2,000 hours of training free of charge, awarded a monthly living stipend and may earn bonuses through the year for exceeding expectations.

Upon completion, trained veterans qualify to join our Hope Farms Co-op, which will market and distribute their crops and they may also benefit from our Business Incubator Program, which will provides land acquisition support, access to equipment and two years of operational advice. This support is designed to ensure their fledgling farm businesses thrive.

The 2019 cohort reflects a cross section of military service and deployment. Each member has had life-changing experiences while serving our country. All of them expressed a common, overarching reason for seeking the Warriors to Farmers grant award: to help bring healthy food to others as they reacclimatize to civilian life while overcoming their war-time traumas. Studies by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs have shown that programs such as the Farmers Veteran Training Program at Recipe for Success have led to improvement and positively impacted physical and mental health of veterans, who have reported a reduction in anxiety, depression and pain.

The 2019 Warriors to Farmers Cohort

Stephan "Miles" Cook served in the United States Army for 11.5 years after graduating from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in human resources development. Cook became interested in becoming an urban food grower after spending time on an urban farm. Up for the challenge, his goal is to become a diversified herb producer.

Oriana Franklin served five years in the United States Army after graduating from San Jacinto College with an associate's degree in applied science. Franklin has installed many green spaces around the country while working with Mission Continues and has a deep understanding of non-profit operations. She was present at the 2016 groundbreaking of Hope Farms and is looking forward to gaining a greater understanding of day-to-day farm operations.

Samuel MacCammon graduated from The United States Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science in international law with a concentration in environmental engineering. He served for six years in the United States Army and has worked in supply management for the past three years. A career change to urban agriculture is aligned with MacCammon's interest in sustainable food production and feeding local communities.

Linda Stafford graduated from American InterContinental University with an associate degree in business administration and served for 14 years in the United States Army. Stafford has always felt at peace in the outdoors, with many of her fondest childhood memories tied to working in her mother's garden, which led her to pursue this unique career opportunity in urban farming.

Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Hope Farms Warriors to Farmers program is available exclusively to veterans and rooted in a hands-on curriculum comprised of horticulture, crop planning, enterprise and supply chain management, farm accounting and marketing and business planning to introduce urban farming and profitable business operations.

Wells Fargo Does It Again!

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Our friends at the Wells Fargo Foundation are continuing their support by contributing to our Hope Farms Veteran Program workforce development! Wells Fargo has been a long-standing partner of Recipe for Success Foundation and we value their partnership as we work together to build stronger communities. Our nation has a long history of welcoming our troops home and bringing them back into a life where they can work and study out of harm's way. We have created a unique 2,000-hour training program designed and offered only to military Veterans. With funding from Wells Fargo, we will be able to further empower our new Veteran Farmer Training Program Manager, Tyler, in his effort to transform our veteran trainees from warriors to farmers. We are deeply grateful for lasting relationships with companies like Wells Fargo, who support our mission throughout all of our programs as we teach, empower and inspire healthy eating.

If you or a veteran your know are ready for the challenge and satisfaction of growing and providing nutritious food to our community, we encourage you to apply for a scholarship. The application deadline for 2019 is September 8, 2019 at midnight central standard time. See the application here!

New School Year with Nutritious & Delicious Fun!

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As we approach the 2019-2020 school year, we are pleased to announce ten new Recipe for Success Affiliate Partner Schools in Houston! Thanks to H.E.B and United Healthcare Foundation, thousands more children will learn healthy eating skills with our Seed to Plate Nutrition Education™.

A huge welcome to Alcott, Bastian, Codwell, Condit, Grissom, Mading, Mitchell, and Shadydale Elementary Schools along with KIPP Dream and Pershing Middle Schools -- our newest Affiliate Partners. Teachers at all the schools have been going through our S2P Instructor Training this summer as they prepare to launch their programs on their home campuses. We are thrilled to be working with these fantastic schools, their faculties, parents and especially the students! There is always room for more, so please reach out if you are interested in bringing our Seed to Plate Nutrition Education™ to your child's school.

Our two Showcase Schools are are planning enhanced programming this year to help us test out new concepts and content. Rodriguez Elementary is extending our Seed to Plate Nutrition Education™ program to all students from kindergarten through fifth grade. MacGregor Elementary will have both second and fourth graders learning about healthy eating hands-on. Paris, our Culinary Director, and Amanda, our Garden Educator have curated an updated Farmers MarKIDS curriculum for this year to test in our Showcase Schools and we cannot wait to see all the delicious fun.

Thanks to Cigna, dozens of Title One school classes will visit Hope Farms this fall where they will get hands on in the fields and then prepare a healthy salad. Any school or group can make a reservation for a Hope Farms Field trip and a healthy hands-on taste of our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ delivered by our educational team. You can request field trips at hopefarmshtx.org

Be sure to follow us on social media to stay informed of "all things EDUCATIONAL" at Recipe for Success.

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Love, Tito's Community Garden

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Partnerships play a huge role in our ability to provide our programming, both in schools and on the farm. We had an amazing work day to close out May with Tito's Handmade Vodka on the farm during their Love, Tito's event. Just like RFS, Tito's Vodka believes in the power of people coming together to accomplish big things! Love, Tito's is a social experiment to reconnect communities, one block at a time. The Tito's Vodka family worked alongside local nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston to help support urban farms to make fresh, healthy food more accessible to the local community. Together we built 21 raised beds for our new Hope Farms community garden, as well as expand the pollinator garden in front of the farm. The hard work, dedication, and initiative of all those who helped is so greatly appreciated! We love building lasting relationships with companies like Tito's Handmade Vodka, who support our mission as we teach, empower and inspire healthy eating. A HUGE thank you to everyone who came, and the Tito's Vodka family for helping us make this a reality!!

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Welcome Farmer Nick!

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Nick 3.jpegWhile we say goodbye to some, we welcome others to the team! You may have seen him around Hope Farms for the last month, learning about the property and new climate, but now it's time for an introduction. Nick DeBrock, recently moved from Connecticut where he ran vegetable production for The Hickories, is our new Hope Farms Manager. He is your go to for farm shares, restaurant sales, day-to-day production and our weekly farm stand! We're excited to start this new chapter, and extend a big Texas welcome to this new personality! We asked Nick a few questions to dig a little deeper, see the Q&A below.

What is the biggest difference in farming in Southeast Texas versus Connecticut?
The biggest change is just how drastic the timing is on fruits and vegetables. It is July and tomato season is over, whereas in Connecticut we are lucky to get a tomato before July 4th. Another obvious difference is the lack of winter here meaning an opportunity to grow year round.
What is the next step for Hope Farms?
Hope Farms is in a big transition point at the moment and the answer to this can be quite vast! We are going to continue to add more acreage into production slowly and sustainably, allowing for a steady increase in produce production. This naturally leads us to expanding our markets and popping the Rolling Green Market up at more locations. My goal this next year is centered around getting repeatable systems down for a more economical and sustainable farm.
We know you love veggies! What is your favorite vegetable to grow?
My favorite vegetable to grow has to be a pepper. A pepper in my opinion can offer such a variety of flavors that are so unique. They can range from sweet as an apple to too hot to even touch and if you dry them out they take on a whole other range of flavors. Peppers simply are the most rewarding vegetable to grow.
What is your favorite thing you have done in Houston so far?
I feel like I am so wiped from the sun that I barely do anything. Just yesterday I was driving home from Wabash feed store with Alex (my partner). Traffic looked awful on 610 so we decided to turn down a random road where we drove by El Bolillo Bakery. We immediately u-turned and found ourself walking into pasty heaven. We must have bought a dozen pastries, all of which were amazing, for just over five dollars. Turns out the bakery seems to be a pretty big deal to certain Houstonians. What made it special was finding this gem by accident.
What drew you to RFS?
I always wanted to grow food to make a change! I found myself growing food on a family farm in Connecticut which provided experiences I would not change for anything, however I felt though that I was not doing enough. I wanted to make a difference not just for one small community, but for a whole city. Recipe for Success and Hope Farms takes this challenge head on, while also allowing for the growth of new urban agriculture in an area so desperate for farmers and their produce.

CultureMap: Tomato Tasting, Strawberry Moon & Van Gogh at Hope Farms

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8JqM4qNm.jpeg"Under a full strawberry moon (a tasty beacon, indeed), Gracie Cavnar, founder of Recipe for Success, orchestrated her popular Chefs in the Field supper. Hosted by Recipe for Success Foundation at Hope Farms, the evening brought the farm to the table, featuring fresh produce and a menu showcasing the best of the season..." Read More from Steven Devadanam at CultureMap

Field Trips to Hope Farms

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Stories From the Classroom by Paris Anton & Amanda Howard: Spring is a time of both rebirth and growth in our garden, classrooms and farm! As cool days begin to warm it's finally time for our farmers-in-training to put their hands into the soil. The end of the school year ended with a BANG for both our showcase schools with 4th grade field trips to Hope Farms! Between MacGregor Elementary's 84 students and Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary's 164 students, the farm was abuzz with more than the bees in the apiaries.

Our S2P kiddos ended a fun filled year spent in their gardens and culinary classrooms seeing the likes of a real working farm, participating in the day's harvest followed by tastings, egg collection in the chicken coop, making seed bombs in the children's garden, and a mass of apron decorating of their very own R4S aprons to take home! The students left no stone unturned in their hunt for lady bugs, rolly pollies, and butterflies too. While listening to the chatter during our harvest lunches, one could overhear our student's exclamations of joy and laughter, and see our impact in their smiles and eyes. The transcendence of joy throughout the fields truly left an impact on all of our R4S team that will last us until the next school year!

We've Had a Full Plate This Year! And More to Come!

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End of the Year Wrap Up by Jen Fridley: As we closed down the 2018-2019 school year in our Showcase Schools, we are excited to announce news that our Farmers MarKIDS Market was a huge hit at Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary School. Our students displayed the characteristics of little entrepreneurs and agri-business marketers. It was definitely a successful undertaking with the entire school community. Brothers Produce even stopped by to purchase produce from our stand. Our students experienced real life connections in the food industry from seed to plate! Combined with Art for Sale, the Urban Farm led up by Farmer Moore, produce from the garden, and jarred goods from the Culinary Classroom, our students are able to purchase a birdbath for the garden for the enjoyment of everyone with the funds from their market!

On the horizon for the 2019-2020 school year we are thrilled to report that our Affiliate Partnership Expansion initiative with funding from United Healthcare has rapidly grown throughout the Sunnyside Community Schools with close proximity to Hope Farms. Ten new schools that we have partnered with for next school year are as follows: Bastian Elementary, Mitchell Elementary, Codwell Elementary, Mading Elementary, Alcott Elementary, Condit Elementary, Pershing Middle, Green Villas Elementary, Young Elementary, and Shadydale Elementary Schools. These schools are joining us in the effort to teach, empower and inspire our children about food choices and opportunities with our award-winning Seed to Plate Nutrition Education Program. Their school leaders are just as ecstatic as we are to get their students out to visit Hope Farms in the fall!

And lastly, our work does not slow down because it is summer. We are already busy at the farm with our newest Urban Farmers Camp and after that our Girl Scout Sow What Journey, along with several other camps occurring at the Recipe House later this summer. Stay tuned for more exciting news as the summer progresses!
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Houston Chronicle Dazzled by Delicious Alchemy

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"If it ain't broke, don't fix it - improve upon it. That's the approach Recipe for Success' annual Delicious Alchemy dinner seems to take, anyway. Gracie Cavnar, the organization's founder, board chairman and CEO, tackles a unique challenge each year. Finding a host couple both willing and able to accommodate several dozen gastronomes into their home for a 10-course feast is no easy feat. And then there's the coordination of all that food. Wrangling 10 acclaimed chefs to produce a cohesive yet distinctive menu is quite an undertaking. But when all those moving parts click into place, c'est ce bon..." Read more by Houston Chronicle's Amber Elliott

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CityBook Naturally Loves Earth Day Festivities

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We kicked off April with a busy weekend full of Earth Day festivities! The weekend started with our Earth Day Festival on April 6 in which we had several vendors and activities for the community to engage in. Snooze hosted a pancake breakfast which benefitted our S.P.I.C.E. Guild, DEFINE utilized our movement lawn for a beat class, and RFS Board Members taught cooking classes to a wide ranging audience. All resulting in community attendance being higher than 2018! The weekend continued with our Chefs in the Field Earth Day Supper on April 7. We greatly appreciated the contributions of our sponsors Treaty Oak, St. Arnold's Brewing, Dairy Maids, and 1836 Olive Oil. Your Butler's Pantry set the scene during the intimate dinner portion of the event, with our long, rustic table down the middle of the Gathering Barn and set with woven placemats, hand blown glasses and textural elements in greens and blues. One final THANK YOU to our Chefs Jeff Auld, Kevin Naderi, and Rakesh Nayak. Click here to read CityBook's Review

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CultureMap: Earth Day Supper Success

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"In spite of the weather, beloved Recipe for Success founder Gracie Cavnar pulled off yet another Chefs in the Field alfresco supper, this time to celebrate Mother Earth. Hosted by Recipe for Success Foundation at Hope Farms, the evening featured farm-fresh produce and a menu showcasing the best of locally sourced food and star chefs..." Read More

Many Fun Opportunities Coming Up

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Have you been looking for ways to get involved with Recipe for Success? Spring and summer offers many opportunities, whether it is helping at events, joining us for summer camp, or general office help. Our team relies on the assistance of volunteers to prepare and deliver programs that are making an impact in the community.

Here's a highlight of the opportunities for spring and summer. Our sign up process is quick and easy!

Taste of the District, Sunday, April 28, 2019
Help represent Recipe for Success at the River Oaks Taste of the District. We will need help with setup, engaging with attendees, arts and crafts with children, and tear down. Attendees will stroll the shops and vendor booths. We have two shifts available. Join us and spend a day at the River Oaks District.

Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet, Monday, May 6, 2019
Please join us for the fourth annual Banquet, to benefit Recipe for Success Foundation's programming. This exquisite seated dinner for 100 guests raises 20% of the Foundation's annual budget while celebrating the community of a shared meal. The event will take place at a private residence in River Oaks. We're recruiting now for all aspects of event logistics including pre-event setup, check in, serving, and break down. We have several shifts available to meet your schedule so sign up today!

Summer Camps, June and July
This summer, Recipe for Success will host 4 summer camps for kids ages 8-12. We will be at the farm June 3-7 and then at the office June 17-21, June 24-28, and July 8-12. We have a variety of dates and times open to volunteers. Sign up, come out and help us introduce the joys of gardening and cooking to kids.

Chefs in the Field, Monday, June 17, 2019
Our tribute to the tomato dinner on the farm will feature three Houston chefs. The dinner is outdoors in the barn and consists of three courses. Volunteers will help with set up logistics, check in, and serving. Enjoy your evening in a beautiful setting at Hope Farms. Sign up for a spot!

Office Angels, Open Dates
Assistance is ALWAYS needed at our office. Volunteers help with data input, organizing supplies, and general office duties. Check your calendars and sign up for a day at our office.

Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle

Recipe for Success
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Worm Dance.pngReport from the classroom by Brenden Jackson. It's been a cold rainy last couple of weeks, which means our young gardeners have really been getting to know their garden worms. Together we built a large worm hotel which has grown from 1,000 wiggly friends to nearly 3,000! The Dirt Detectives have been using all of their observation skills calculate their worm size, how much they weigh and how much food they can compost into the black gold known as vermicompost.

This week we harvested our first collection of vermicompost, the nutrient dense manuer produced by the worms, weighing in at a whopping 25 pounds. With a market value of $1 a pound, this proved to be a great lesson in how much of our "trash" can actually be a valuable resource with a little bit of planning. In the coming weeks we will be applying our class harvested fertilizer to our future tomato beds, ensuring we have rich nutrient dense soil to produce luscious bountiful tomato harvests.

We've not only been learning the important role our worms play in the garden and the microcosm that is our garden soil, but also their anatomy, how they move and what they eat. Our youngest future farmers made menus for the worm hotel so we always know what feed them (veggies only!), while our oldest veggie enthusiasts have been busy studying all five of the worm's hearts and comparing the drainage difference between worm-rich soil and soil devoid of our little friends. We have even put together a Worm Dance to really get into the spirit of studying these super poopers!

Whether inside or outside the garden offers ample opportunities for hands on and experiential learning, and these kids are loving it!



Put a Badge On It!

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Thumbnail image for Girl Scouts_1.jpgThe San Jacinto Council Girl Scouts have found their Recipe for Success! They are arriving to RecipeHouse in droves to earn prized culinary and nutrition badges, including our coveted VegOut! patch.

It's no secret that Recipe for Success Foundation is the premier host to help children acquire life-long cooking skills in a healthy and fun atmosphere. The Girl Scouts were among the first to discover this a decade ago. Now about 50 Scouts a week fill RecipeHouse to learn our hallmark healthy and delicious recipes and cook their way toward GSUSA Badges. Carried home by Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors, the aromas of our healthy snacks and simple meals permeate Houston's family kitchens and dinner tables. Girl Scout troops can learn cooking skills alongside professional chefs, or design their own badge or journey workshops. We even have a special VegOut! patch. Contact us to plan a class for your troop or meeting, or visit the San Jacinto Girl Scouts Council Information Network to register for one of the already-scheduled classes held throughout the year.

These healthy learning opportunities aren't limited to scouts--anyone can join in the fun! Now other youth groups have picked up the scent and made their way to RecipeHouse. The Jack & Jill Woodlands Chapter and a local National Charity League chapter of ninth grade girls have put their aprons on, too. We offer customizable cooking classes for all ages designed for you and your friends, family and coworkers at both RecipeHouse and Hope Farms. If you are interested in booking a cooking class, give us a shout at (713) 520-0443 or info-at-recipe4success-dot-org

USDA Vote of Confidence

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Vets Nov 2018.jpgWe are very excited to share the news of our selection for the largest grant in the nation conferred by USDA in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs to support our program to teach Veterans to farm and incubate their new new urban agribusinesses in Houston. With a three-year $1 million grant we will expand our training program to serve 24 Vets and bring a new Veteran Outreach Ambassador onboard at Hope Farms. Trainees go through a fully paid, 2,000 hour multi-disciplinary program of horticulture and business curriculum over the course of one or two years. Then we help them launch their new enterprises.

One of our motivations in tailoring the Hope Farmer Training Program to Vets was the discovery of how well warriors with post traumatic stress responded to working in a horticultural environment.

"When you've been surrounded by death, hate and tragedy, being in a field surrounded by life--the soil the plants the sounds the wind, it's extremely theraputic. Healing does happen." Daniel Smith, graduate of Hope Farmer Training program.

Now veterans can continue to give back to their community by nourishing them with healthy food. What could be better?

Pictured above are Vet Trainees, Chrostopher Katthage and Jose Montemayor with Justin Myers, Cheif Agricutlural Officer and Jamie Zarate, Hope Farms Manager.

We Don't Lose with Snooze

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IMG_3383.jpgOver 400 volunteers and members of our boards and committees pitched up on a Saturday morning to kick-off the holiday season with a complimentary breakfast from our newest community partners Snooze Eatery to benefit the Foundation. We all had a delicious time and raised an outstanding $2,700 to benefit Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ in our Showcase Schools--MAcGregor and Rodriguez Elementarys in Houston. Who doesnt love pancakes? Next event with Snooze will be a Pancake Breakfast at Hope Farms to kick-off our free Earth Day Family Festival at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday April 6. Pictured above, Advisory Board (AB) member Karen Penner with her family.

Let's S.P.I.C.E. Things Up!

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Sharon & Jackie.jpgIt's an exciting time at the Foundation as we take our volunteer engagement to the next phase with the launch of S.P.I.C.E. Guild in 2019. Special People Influencing Children's Eating are all generous individuals who will support the mission of Recipe for Success Foundation through a personal commitment of time and resources. Advisory Board Members Sharon Sanders and Jackie Fair (pictured above) have taken on the job of developing and launching our new Guild Program with the help of CIGNA Community Ambassador Fellow, Christi Bowers. We are so excited to design and implement a Guild structure that allows our already committed volunteers to take ownership of key public facing elements at Hope Farms including an Education Committee to manage the children's cooking and gardening classes; a Garden Committee to maintain our Pollinator Garden, Children's Garden and Chef's Kitchen Garden; Special Events Committee to produce our free Earth Day Festival and First Saturday at Hope Farms events; Operations Committee to oversee member buy-out events; and the Farm Shop Committee to operate our retail boutique. Every element of S.P.I.C.E. work will support our efforts to Teach, Insprie and Empower healthy eating and to use Hope Farms to build community around shared meals and harvest celebrations. Intersted in joining? Email Taylor. Definitely plan on showing your support us as we celebrate the S.P.I.C.E. Guild's initial efforts with a Pancake Breakfast at our Earth Day Festival on April 6.

Kicking off 2019 with VegOut!

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Gracie and Maggie Vegout 2019.jpgMaggie Flecknoe and CW39 showed up at RecipeHouse to get some delicious VegOut! recipe inspiration from Chef Greg Martin of Bistro Menil. From a Super Veggie Bowl to Braised Chinese Cabbage and Sauteed Swiss Chard with Balsamic Vinegar, Greg helped us check off 13 Veg right off the bat. Maggie started a CW39 team so you can join her in the fun as part of your new years resolution to get healthy, but we warn you--she's pretty competitive. Jump in the fun of #VegOut2019 at vegoutwithrfs.org and see the entire segment with Maggie HERE.

2018 Was a Whirlwind

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Gracie in Chefs Garden.jpg2018 was an exciting year for Recipe for Success Foundation. We launched our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs in a dozen new elementary schools in Texas and Louisiana where we teach kids healthy eating skills; we inspired over 12,000 people across the country --and even a few in Australia--to make healthy choices with our VegOut! Challenge; and we transformed 7.5 acres in Houston's Sunnyside neighborhood into a vibrant urban farm where we grew more than 50,000 pounds of fresh produce, inducted three U.S. Veterans into our farmer training program and welcomed thousands of visitors.

Hope Farms has become not only a resource for fresh, affordable produce in Houston, but also a bucolic setting to inspire people, young and old, to reach for the healthy choice. Our weekly farm stand, full schedule of cooking and gardening classes, hundreds of student field trips each year, community meals crafted from freshly harvested food and shared around the table in our Gathering Barn and our harvest celebrations like the annual Earth Day Festival, all help Houstonians connect with healthy food in a new and exciting way.

We have a hopeful vision and a commitment to building a healthier world. Hoping to see you around our table in 2019!

Fall Fun in the Classroom

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GQ2B0189.JPGBy Brenden Jackson-Healthy Eating Ambassador. As winter winds and rain unfurl across the landscape, we prepare for spring and reflect on our fall Seed-To-Plate Nutrition Education™ classes in our two Houston Showcase Schools. Rodriguez and MacGregor Elementarys are where we rollout and test new curriculum content that will be available to our Affiliate Partners next year. This year's test theme is Farmers MarKIDS, which we developed years ago as a short unit for older students and are now adapting for PreK-5th graders to enjoy over a 10-month activation.

We've just wrapped an exciting growing season as our students thrived on learning the ins-and-outs of organic gardening and healthy meal preparation all while getting ready for their first Farmer MarKIDS DAY farm stand in May. Following the growth of their food from the seed, to the plant and finally to the plate, provides a holistic connection to healthy eating habits as well as lots of hands on and experiential learning opportunities.

Hungry for knowledge, the 6,7,8,9 and 10 year old foodies planned their school gardens, sowing seeds for beans, radishes, lettuce, carrots and other seasonal favorites. As our plants began to form into tasty veggies, we took the time to enjoy raw samples (discussing the flavors and nutrients) before transforming them into delicious nutritious salads, soups and more. Many of Houston's finest chefs, including Jada Cre from Urban Chef (pictured) voluntered their time to help us teach the kids to cook up some scruptious dishes.

Never missing a chance to strengthen STEM skills, we incorporated a little financila literacy to help students learn how to measure their garden's growth and production levels in order to calculate fair prices for their labor. These future entrepreneurs have been comparing grocery store and market prices around the city to figure out just how our food systems work and how they should price their own crops.

Dropping temperatures and winter rains can make out hard to get outside, but present a perfect excuse for learning how to preserve our crops. Our Farmers MarKIDS worked on canning, pickling and fermenting their harvests all with an eye on value added goods to sell at their markets stand.

Everything they learned during the fall has helped our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ students plan their spring garden with an eye on business. January and February will find them busy preparing their garden beds and learning about how healthy soil connects to healthy bodies. They are anxious to apply their new knowledge about food production, pricing--and most importantly--taste, to their own farm stands in May. Houston may be getting colder but we are just warming up!

If you are interested in bringin our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs to your school, you can find more information HERE.