2020 Archives

RecipeHouse Goes Virtual

Recipe for Success
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img_6206 3.jpgWe have welcomed Carlos Meltzer back into our fold as our Chef Instructor extraordinaire! Besides being our star teacher in the eatitfoodadventures.org culinary videos, Carlos will be hosting Zoom Cooking Classes at RecipeHouse. Carlos was one of our original Seed-To-Plate Instructors years ago when we were building out our award-winning program. He went on to host his own cooking show, and run the Sur La Table cooking school among other delicious escapades. We are happy to have him home!

First on the list of Zoom Classes available to the public will be "Cook the Harvest, Traditional Thanksgiving Sides with a Fresh Twist", live on Friday November 20 at noon. Founder, Gracie Cavnar will be joining Carlos at the stove to share tips and tricks to up your turkey day game! The class is $25 and there will be mise en place kits with fresh ingredients available for andvance purchase in the Hope Farms HTX online farm store. Class is limited to 40 students. Book your spot today.

Growing the Farm

Recipe for Success
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120446448_814466489298430_2065338201469038867_n.jpgWe have spent the summer expanding our growing footprint at the farm, adding nine raised beds for our new blueberry orchard and a brand new hoop house where we will be growing fall tomatoes and expand our ability to grow popular crops like green peas and cucumbers for a much linger season. We played with some fun new crops like peanuts and corn and we are planning a seasonal flower maze in a large field that has not been hosibitable to food growing. We built a mobile chicken coop for our teenage chicks who have now matured and are beginning to produce eggs-- doubling our egg production. And we have added goats! Anticipating fresh goat milk in 2021!

While the farm has been closed to the public, it is one of the safest, healthiest places to be. We have welcomed everal summer interns and volunteers in limited numbers all summer and we have a gap year fellow starting this month. Also in October, we will begin to welcome volunteer groups back to the farm for controlled special projects, beginning with the executives and owners of Salata, who will be here on October 15.

Our drive through farm stand continues to be popular and we attract customers from throughout the city to buy our produce and Food from Friends, including BOH pasta and pizza, 1836 Olive Oil and Hive Been honey. As we harvest the last of our okra, peppers and eggpant, our fall crops are starting to come in, including four kinds of sweet potatoes and some beautiful pumkins and squashes. A new USDA grant will allow us to expand our polinator beds, adding beauty and function with perennial flowers. The ascetics of the farm continue to improve as we clear and clean. Our goal is to ready to host an event at any time! So why not plan a party here? We are also building routine systems and procedures in the spirit of Lean Farming techniques, which include splitting the farm into quadrants to improve streamlined maintenance, coordination of delivery driver pick up at farm to reduce transportation time of CSA, weekly routine tasks.

The Flower Child fields are an explosion of color in the midst of it all, putting a smile on our faces (behind our masks,) And we are ready to welcome you!

A Texas Two Step

Recipe for Success
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header with painting, chair and logo.jpgWe have planned what we are affectionately calling a Texas Two Step that gives our fashionable friends the chance to pay it forward. While we postponed our big fall luncheon and fashion show to November 2021, we added a reason to smile and get dressed up this fall, too with a safe, socially distanced affair for a fabulous few.

Working with our chair, Sippi Khurana, designer Lela Rose and her team as well as stylist Melissa Sugulas, and our friends at Tootsies, we have created a VIP styling experience for all our our supporters and fans who buy their 2021 tickets and tables now. So, buy early and enjoy two for one! On October 21, 2020 the insider VIP event, The World of Lela Rose, will be a hybrid virtual and in person affair featuring spring trunk shows from across Lela's collections, fabulous food from Salata, Drinks to Match your Dress from Tito's and a live styling presentation when Lela will Zoom in to visit with Joy Sewing, the Houston Chronicle Fashion Editor and Fady Armanious, Creative Director at Tootsies.

The gifts will flow for our VIP insiders, from the chance to win Lela's fashions and darling pearl mask lanyards from Pearl to fresh roses from Flower Child. Donors who commit to tables and tickets now for 2021, will be invited in October. This will allow our generous supporters to leverage two years' budget for higher profile positioning at the 2021 Fashion in the Fields. Get your tickets for Fashio inthe Fields 2021 today and snare your spot on the door list for this fabulously fashionable affair in October 2020 at Hope Farms. Tickets/Tables here.

Our COVID Pirouette

Recipe for Success
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How did we spend our summer "vacation"? Pivoting so fast we feel like whirling dervishes, or as a dear friend suggested--pirouetting! Even though they were motivated by extreme change, I am excited about the initiatives we have undertaken, the changes we've made, and the opportunities before us as we adapt our programs for the new normal in a way that will have long term positive impact and increase our mission reach.

While we all spent time supporting Hope Farms, quickly creating a safe, convenient drive-through market and online Farm Store, and fine tuning our venue rental packages--even designing Intimate Wedding Packages. The rest of our summer days, we 192_bubblesandbrideshopefarms_dortizphoto_071420.JPGfocused on planning the COVID Pivot for Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs, Affiliate Partners and Showcase Schools. It's clear that even schools that are back to in-person classes do not have the bandwidth to get beyond core learning. It's also clear that distance learning will not be going away anytime soon. We are taking advantage of this pause in the classroom to completely reimagine our signature Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ as a robust online platform designed for kids and families, which will also work as a resource for teachers and schools. You can read more about it in the Seed-to-Plate Column and even sign up for an early subscription, which we hope you will consider.

Using the latest in LMK technology, we are building out eatitfoodadventures.org -- a URL we have owned since publishing my book. It will feature an inaugural series of twenty-four, produced cooking and gardening class videos presenting our Marco Polo themed unit, which we developed and tested in the classroom in 2014-2016. The unit is rich with content and collateral materials to bring the multi-cultural exploration of foodways from around the world alive for all ages. Our new site will also feature and extensive video glossary of "How-To's" and "What's This?" explained in 30-90 second clips that are linked up to the recipes and garden activities and searchable on their own.

A Food Explorer section will be brimming with self study adventures grouped by ages. There will be sections for parents and teachers and a generous list of links to our favorite outside sources to round out the platform. We plan to take the site live in time for the holiday season with the first cooking and gardening video class and will release new classes in the series throughout the year. The safe and secure site will be available by subscription--a nominal $3 per month or $25 per year. We will launch the promotional campaign with a Buy One/Give One opportunity for new members to provide access to the children in our partner schools. Upgraded subscriptions will give access to a schedule of live Zoom Classes and Clubs held throughout the year. The landing page with sneak preview of what to expect and links to subscribe will be up in November intake for holiday gift giving season.

It fills my heart to share that several of our generous funders have stepped up with a gift to help us get this project started. Sprouts Market has earmarked this years donation for our new site and thanks to our board member Ana Llovera, Shell has also made a generous contribution. Others are planning their gifts now, because everyone recognizes the impact that eatitfoodadventures.org in Houston and well beyond its borders in helping teach, empower and inspire children to make mindful eating decisions and build lifelong healthy habits! We would welcome you to consider supporting this powerful project.

Houston, We Have a Farmer!

Recipe for Success
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IMG_9252.JPGWe are delighted to announce that Army Veteran, Oriana Franklin has completed our comprehensive one-year Warriors to Farmers training course at Hope Farms designed to prepare her to operate her own urban farm as a profitable business. Oriana now enters our Business Incubation Program wich is funded by our USDA AGVet grant, and will be come a member of our Hope Farms Coop. Her final class project was creating a business plan to help guide her through the first years of Franklin Farm. Oriana will launch Franklin Farm on a 1/8 acre lot near the intersettion of Scott and Elgin in the Third Ward, fulfilling our vision of expanding the footprint of urban farms throughout Houston's identified food deserts. We plan a ribbon cutting to celebrate this milestone on November 18 and hope you will join us in congratulating Oriana on her achievement.

Give 'em Pumpkin to Talk About

Recipe for Success
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AdobeStock_71862902.jpegTake your fall family photos this year at Hope Farms! Hope Farms has the perfect Autumn Harvest setup that will get you in the fall spirit. Bring you camera and enjoy vignettes featuring pumpkins, hay bales and a charming antique tractor. Whether you dress in costume or your favorite coordinated fall outfits, it will be a fun time for the entire family. Appontment times will keep every one safely distanced so you can focus onthe fun.

Make your reservation for Saturday October 24th or Saturday, October 31st between 9:00 and 1:00 online here.

After your photoshoot, make sure to stop by the Farm Stand and pick up some freshly harvested produce. Customers can also order online for seamless, drive-through pick up.

Re-imaginging Seed-to-Plate

Recipe for Success
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Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 2.29.30 PM.pngClassroom closures during the pandemic completely sidelined our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ program for tens of thousands of students, while homebound children are losing touch with healthy eating habits. The well-documented relationship between poor childhood diet, obesity and a lifetime of chronic health issues has been brought into sharp relief by the current pandemic, which has disproportionately affected low income communities of color where obesity, diabetes, heart and kidney disease are rampant. These pre-existing conditions are at the heart of the glaring health disparities and tragically high mortality rates for COVID-19 that are now being seen in these underserved areas. And the medical community warns us that obesity is on the rise as families in lock-down consume more unhealthy meals and snacks.

In this unprecedented environment, we are adapting our approach to support healthy decision-making using the latest in technology and learning trends. We are reimagining our signature school-based Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ curriculum in a new delivery platform. EatItFoodadventures.org, featuring a 24-episode video series of cooking and garden classes and resource packed website of information, visual glossaries and projects for independent food explorers is a subscription-based website that will bring Recipe for Success Foundation's award-winning content directly to children and their families.

The new website will leverage content in Eat It! Food Adventures with Marco Polo, our award-winning children's cookbook and the correlating themed curriculum that we designed and tested in our classrooms from 2012 to 2016. Following our model of making healthy food fun, each of the 24 episodes will feature the adventure of discovery - uncovering new flavors and food traditions that celebrate the melting pot of American culture, honoring the concept of locally grown, home cooked meals, and emphasizing the importance of fresh foods, prepared from scratch and shared at table with family and friends.

The anchor series of 12 to 15-minute produced videos, as well as the supplemental content have been designed by a diverse education team consisting of a media specialist with an extensive background in children's multi-media education, award winning graphic designer, master educators and curriculum designers, trained S2P culinary and gardening teachers, chefs, master gardeners and the agricultural staff at Hope Farms.

We plan to go-live with the site in time for spring break 2021, so what better gift for your favorite family than a year-long subscription. Details to reserve are here.

You will love this BTS clip captured during a recent filming with Tyler and five-year-old Isabelle Blomquist.

Get #HitchedatHopeFarms

Healthy Eating Ambassador
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Hope Farms is now open for socially distance intimate weddings! For $2,000, Hope Farm's Intimate Wedding package affords a two-hour event on 7 acres of urban green space in Sunnyside, just outside Loop 610, complete with ceremony backdrop, seating for 12 guests, wedding cake, tabletop and wedding flowers. Read more from the Houston Chronicle Here

Citybook Highlights Hope Farms

Volunteer Ambassador
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Hope Farms Spring 2017.png

Note from Citybook's Editors: "We first wrote about Hope Farms extensively in this beautiful photo essay and article in our September 2017 issue, just before Hurricane Harvey laid the then brand-new nonprofit agricultural project low. The farm, an initiative of philanthropist Gracie Cavnar's Recipe for Success, bounced right back, though, and CityBook went on to proudly sponsor several of the nonprofit's marketing endeavors -- and even, in January 2019, made a coverboy out of one of the organization's (hunky) former-military farmhands. We're not surprised at all to learn that, even through the current crisis, Hope Farms continues growing its organic fair, delivering food shares. The weekly package -- containing about a dozen varieties of veggies, fruits and herbs -- is delivered to customers on Tuesdays. "With this small gesture, we continue to celebrate the power of a shared meal to build memories," says Cavnar, "and empower parents to feed our children healthy food." Read Article Here

CW39's Maggie Flecknoe is Ready to VegOut!

Volunteer Ambassador
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The CW39's Maggie Flecknoe visited RecipeHouse to get Houston ready to VegOut! on March 1st! We have some of our favorite VegOut supports join us, Erin O' Leary Stewart, Chef Antoine Ware and Chef Greg Martin. Check out the interviews below! #VegOut2020

IMG_4339.JPGErin O'Leary Stewart, Director of DEFINE foods shares a healthy recipe and ways to get your kids to eat their veggies...HERE


Chef Antoine Ware is putting an emphasis on quality Texas and Houston-produced ingredients and products at Luby's. Starting with some new vegetable dishes starting on March 1st....HERE


Greg Martin, Chef & Proprietor of Bistro Menil, shares a dish that incorporates multiple vegetables for the challenge....HERE