October 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

Recipe for Success
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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.