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.

Hope Farmer on CityBook Cover

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Screen Shot 2018-12-21 at 2.06.41 PM.pngOne of our Hope Farmer Trainees, Marine Veteran Christopher Katthage took a day off from tending crops to have a high-wattage turn in designer threads for a story about Hope Farms in the January Food Issue of Houston CityBook. Getting tapped for the cover came as a surprise for this first time model who obviously has talent in front of the camera! Check out the shoot.

Forbes Features Hope Farms

Recipe for Success
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This Houston Urban Farm Honors Veterans With Jobs

Claudia Alarcón

It's a Great Day at Hope Farms

Recipe for Success
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Great Day Shoot at Hope Farms.JPGKHOU-Ch 11 Great Day Houston's Cristina Kooker feasted with Recipe for Success and Chef Erin Stewart from Define Foods on gorgeous dishes like Winter Kale Salad with Pear, Kumquat & Maple Vinaigrette... so delicious that you would never know it's healthy, too! Plus, how to stay healthy by taking the Veg Out Challenge. All the recipes can be found at vegoutwithrfs.org and you can watch the entire show here.

Fashion in the Fields a Hit

Recipe for Success
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Innaugurating the Childrens Garden at Hope Farms copy.jpgIt was an SRO crowd that filled the Gathering Barn at Hope Farms for Recipe for Success Foundation's inaugural, Fashion in the Fields presented by Neiman Marcus. Over 400 HTX blossoming #ItMoms, hubs, family, friends, farm fans and Recipe for Success devotees turned out despite ominous skies for a day of fashion, food and fun. The event raised more than $200,000 towards RFS's mission to combat childhood obesity by changing the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food.

Recipe for Success Founder and CEO, Gracie Cavnar was front and center welcoming one and all to the event that featured a Neiman Marcus fashion show and a jaw dropping southern' inspired brunch by Culinaire. She was the first to quip that the overwhelming looks seen on the ladies was "farm girl cold weather chic", music, walk-abouts and shopping capped off a day that was anything but ordinary!

The inauguration of the Robert and Janice McNair children's garden kicked off the day. This interactive space is used by Hope Farms to educate and inspire even the youngest of future farmers. It was filled from start to end of day with kids and parents who delighted in new play equipment and activities.

Guests entered the Gathering Barn where they found the Farm's Market Stand transformed into a chic boutique. Featuring a Recipe for Success "Farm Store" and a Neiman Marcus pop-up with Dolce&Gabbana Smeg Collection and Armenta Jewelry. Waiters stood at attention with trays of Bloody Mary's, mimosas and wine. Event Chairs Stephanie Fleck and Melissa Sugulas, both who share a long-standing commitment to the foundation, were thrilled at the support from their farm fans and chic chicks. Drawing smiles all around were the arrivals of the child "models" whose parents tried their best to wrangle - and for some included managing off sleep schedules of several drowsy young'uns.

Celebrity emcee, KPRC 2 - Houston Life anchor, Courtney Zavala welcomed the buzzy group to the event that kicked off with a Veteran's Day salute to the farms' own veteran farmer trainees Christopher Katthage and Jose Montemayor. Each took a turn on the runway to the applause of all. The trainees at Hope Farms work alongside the farm team as they learn the skills and knowledge to be urban farmers.

Cavnar and husband Bob awarded Chef Kevin Naderi of Roost as Chef of the Year. He was given the award for his unwavering support of the foundation, volunteering for more than a decade in the classroom, at dinners and for inspiring healthy eating in children.

Next it was time for the Neiman Marcus fashion show which was kicked off by half-pint models including the children of Courtney & Buck Baker, Amanda & Terry Boffone, Bobby & Kristen Cavnar, Julie Longoria & Stephen Chen, Elizabeth & Alexander Dwyer, Melissa Juneau, Lara Kopriva, Barbara & Lance McKnight and Courtney Zavala. When the professionals hit the runway, all eyes were on the posh showing of fall fashions titiled "The Art of Fashion."

All this must have made the crowd famished, as they made a beeline for the lavish brunch served in a separate venue featuring shabby chic inspired tables topped with mix and match vintage china and glassware, farm fresh florals and chandeliers made out of stag antlers. Live music by Socialite kept things festive as everyone tucked into plates of flower garden salads served family style at the table, buttermilk fried chicken, gulf shrimp crawfish, white cheddar grits, zucchini and sweet pepper frittatas, roasted & grilled farm vegetables, four bean salad and an array of fresh baked biscuits and muffins. A three-tiered display of cupcakes had even the most stringent diner off their diets.

The day concluded with Gracie's gentle prompting for funds to support the Foundation and Hope Farms programs. Allison Casey adopted a veteran for a month and John Lindley bought a fruit tree in honor of his wife, Cherie. Zavala and Cavnar drew turns with the Live Raffle drawing that featured 1836 Olive Oil, Dolce&Gabbana Gourmet Collection and an Armenta Jewelry bracelet and necklace.

SPECIAL THANKS TO - Neiman Marcus,1836 Olive Oil, Armenta, Brothers Produce, Culinare, Dr. Mark's Zo Skin Care, Peerless Tents, Saint Arnolds Brewing Company, Smiles Gone Wild, Socialite Entertainment and Titos Handmade Vodka.

A Pig Roast at Hope Farms

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Pig Roast Chefs.jpgOnce upon a time there were two pigs...But unlike the classic children's tale, these two piggies didn't escape. They became dinner for 65 partygoers at the fall 2018 Chefs in the Field pig roast at Hope Farms. The evening featured farm-fresh produce and heritage pigs from Jolie Vue Farms donated by emeritus, founding board memeber Glen and Honi Boudreaux. The event, held on the bucolic grounds of the farm, raised more than $10,000 toward RFS's mission to combat childhood obesity by changing the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food.

The Sunday night supper kicked off with cocktails and hors d' oeuvres in the Chef's Garden. Guests sipped a Treaty Oak Caught Red Handed Bourbon cocktail, St Arnold's Oktoberfest beer and vintages curated by Monopole Wines as they enjoyed the fresh breezes that blew across the seven-acre urban farm. As dusk tuned to night, guests were ushered into the Gathering Barn by founder and CEO Gracie Cavnar. Two long tables set family style were decorated with flickering candles, fall gourds, vegetables and flowers. Vintage chairs from Native Citizen gave a hip, industrial vibe, as did the mid-century modern furniture placed in the barn's entry.

Chefs participating in the evening rolled out all the stops in spite of the bare bones culinary set up. Taking a page from the 'glamping' trend, Cavnar, in typical high-octane mode, cheered on the chefs as they worked their magic.

Erin O'Leary Stewart of DEFINE foods kicked off the family style service with a fall slaw made with apple, kale, orange miso dressing and grilled eggplant with almond feta, chili and honey. The brightly colored dishes sparkled in the candlelight.

Chefs Mayank Istwal and Shivek Suri of Musaafer and Chef Tommy Laczynski of Fig & Olive supplied the main courses. Tommy earned kudos for being at the farm at 2:00 a.m. to start the coals for the whole pig he roasted for more than 18 hours. His dish - Pimenton Espelette Smoked Whole Hog with L'orange Sauce - was accompanied by fennel and citrus slaw and a seafood paella done in a massive demonstration pan.

Mayank and Shivek, whose Musaafer will open in early 2019, flew in from India just for the dinner and wowed the diners with their Portuguese-influenced Roti Pey Boti Pork marinated in spices from India's Goa coastal region. It was cooked sous vide for 28 hours then slow roasted. The succulent pork was served on fenugreek-flavored flatbread on wooden dinnerware made just for the dish and accompanied by dipping sauces and house made condiments.

As with any Recipe for Success event, fashion was obviously top of mind for the chicly attired throng. Taking cues from fall fashion magazines, western wear, plaid and hand-tooled cowboy boots made the scene.

Bold faced types included - Recipe for Success founder Gracie Cavnar with founding Board Members Honi and Glen Boudreaux, current Board Members, Bryan Christ with his wife, Stacey, Genevieve Patterson with husband Shawn, Bill Baldwin with partner Fady Armanious, Bobby Cavnar, Stephanie Fleck--who is also chairing the upcoming Fashion in the Fields event on November 11, with her husband Ryan; Neekie Kashani, Lyndsey Zorich, Amanda Boffone, Julie Longoria Chen and Courtney Baker--all co-chairing November 11 event, as well as Gordon Bethune with Jessica Rossman, Gayle and Lloyd Bentsen, Patrick LeVrat, William Shoemaker and Denny Stygstra.

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Ai Culinary Institute, Brothers Produce, Claire Smith, DEFINE body & mind, Bianca Ferrer, Fig & Olive, Half Moon Lettering, Jolie Vue Farms, Monopole Wines, Musaafer, Native Citizen, St Arnold Brewing Company and Treaty Oak Distillery.

CIF at Sunset.jpg

Meet our Volunteer Star! Erika Kwee is September's Volunteer of the Month

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Pictured Above from left to right: Brendan Fradkin, Eden Bass, Erika Kwee, Dan Morley, Mai Le, Isabel Protomartir

We are excited to announce Erika Kwee as our September volunteer of the month! This past spring, Erika reached out to Recipe for Success with an offer to rally a group of friends to help clean up our RecipeHouse gardens that were in desperate need of some TLC. This past summer, Erika and her group of five, Brendan, Eden, Dan, Mai, and Isabel, braved the smothering Houston heat, removing thickly overgrown weeds and preparing the beds for early fall vegetable planting. The Recipe team couldn't be happier with their work as the result was a complete transformation!

About Erika, our Group Leader:

A volunteer since 2013, Erika has a passion for food and cooking, which was the original attraction to Recipe for Success. She describes volunteering as both "fun and rewarding" adding, "I really believe in the Recipe for Success mission and love to support the organization whenever I can!" While Erika keeps busy with a career in tech, she also does freelance writing for Houston Press and runs her own personal food blog, thepancakeprincess.com, a data-based baking blog where she analyzes the best baking recipes on the internet.

Out of all of her volunteer experiences with the organization, she would name the RecipeHouse garden clean up project as her favorite. "Even though we weren't sure how much we would be able to accomplish in a few hours, it was a great feeling to see where we started and where we finished."

Feeling a sense of accomplishment, Erika, on behalf of her team, enthusiastically reached out upon project completion to offer their help in next steps to re-growing the RecipeHouse garden. We look forward to working with this amazing group in the near future and helping you make more memories. Thank you, Erika!


CultureMap Digs Hope Farms

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Thumbnail image for The sun sets on Chef's Kitchen Garden at Hope Farms.jpgBRINGING HOPE TO HOUSTON
Chef-favorite charity cultivates blossoming Houston urban farm. Story by Eric Sandler on August 30, 2018

Houston is home to lots of food-related charities that want to improve the way the city eats, but few have a higher profile than Recipe for Success. Devoted to combating childhood obesity through education, the organization has grown by leaps and bounds...READ THE WHOLE STORY

Meet Allison Gryder - August Volunteer of the Month!

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AllisonG.jpgWe are excited to introduce Allison Gryder, our August Volunteer of the Month. A busy mother of four-year-old twin boys, Allison enjoys watching children explore and learn about their food. This, along with a love for cooking, sparked her interest in volunteering for the organization and she particularly enjoyed assisting with the Delivering Hope program, organizing the welcome home baskets delivered to program recipients. Outside of chasing after her two little ones and assisting the foundation, Allison also supports her alma matter, University of Houston, serving on the Houston Alumnae Panhellenic Association and Foundation. Since joining the volunteer team as an office assistant, Allison has helped us with data updates, organizing event and donor reports, and crafting customized gift acknowledgments. A former Development Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator for Memorial Park Conservancy, Allison has recently provided the foundation with suggestions on how to improve our volunteer and community outreach efforts. We are so appreciative of the extra care Allison has given to ensure our volunteers and supporters remain educated on the organization's current events. Thank you, Allison!

PaperCity at Hope Farms

James Brock
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Heirloom tomatoes fill platters at Chefs in the Field Tomato Tribute at Hope Farms.jpg

It's not every day that one gets the chance to dine with 49 other interesting people at one long table. And it's even rarer to do so for a great cause. That's exactly what happened on June 24, and PaperCity's Catherine Anspon captured all the delicious fun, including the cocktails, the tomatoes, the short ribs, and the charred-tomato panna cotta. It was Chefs in the Field: A Tomato Tribute, and Alyssa Dole, Wayne Nguyen, and Martin Stayer wowed the crowd with their culinary creations. Monopole Wines provided the wonderful pairings, and Hal Brock's 22Fresh supplied the floral artistry and the bespoke cocktail. Read the complete PaperCity coverage here.

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