Recently in Hope Farms Category

Our Farmer's Four Fall To Do's

Recipe for Success
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IMG_0334 2.JPGFall is the Time for Brassicas, Peas, Citrus and Mulching

Get those Brassicas in the ground! Brassicas deliver flavor in spades--especially spicy. For fast gratification, try mustards and harvest the baby leaves when they are just 3 or 4 inches long. Collard greens and kale are more fast-growing leafy Brassicas. Or if you have some patience, go for the flowery brassicas -- cauliflower and broccoli, the buds -- cabbage and Brussels sprouts, roots -- turnips and even stems -- kohlrabi...all are considered a brassica, and absolutely love our fall and winter here on the Gulf Coast of Texas! Cool fall mornings improve the flavor of these wonderful crops. Leafy brassicas you can see directly in the garden and within a few weeks have something to munch on. For the rest, its best to buy healthy plant starts in 4' pots and plant them 12"-18" apart. You will have something to eat by New Years!IMG_1157.jpg

Sugar Snap Peas are a must in Houston's fall and winter gardens! If you have never had a just harvested sugar snap pea, you don't know what you're missing! Traditional planting day is Halloween, but as long as you get them in by Thanksgiving, you will be popping peas by Valentine's Day. Not only are they delicious, they are beautiful with delicate flowers that appear before the seed pods. These exuberant climbers will race up a fence, or garden support and every bit is edible from the lovely flowers and curly tendrils to the entire pod and the seeds inside. There is really no com

It's Citrus Time! You have probably seen fruit trees laden with lemons, limes and oranges all over town, because we are entering the height of citrus season on the gulf Coast. If you are lucky enough to have these proven performers in your garden, get ready to harvest. Fall and winter is when we harvest almost all varieties of citrus here on the Texas Gulf Coast, and the harvest is always bountiful! Wait until the fruits have fully colored then make sure to have your shears sharp because fruit should be cut from the tree, not pulled! After your harvest, mulch well around your tree bases and give them a rest before you feed them again. If you don't have any citrus, now is the time to plant. The most popular varieties are Meyer lemons, Mexican limes and any kind of orange, but it's just as easy to grow grapefruit, kumquats and nectarines. Get creative and try something new!

IMG_1138.jpgMulch, Mulch, Mulch. Whether you are planting seasonal crops or not, it's time to protect your perennials. Basically, leave no bare ground showing in your vegetable, herb and flower garden beds. Covering all your soil with four to six inches of organic material, like straw or chopped up leaves will protect your perennials and shrubs from frost damage and discourage weeds. You will thank yourself in the spring.

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!

Wells Fargo Does It Again!

Healthy Eating Ambassador
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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!

Welcome Farmer Nick!

Healthy Eating Ambassador
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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.

USDA Vote of Confidence

Recipe for Success
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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.

Megan Dickerson At Work

James Brock
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Talk about dedication. Megan Dickerson, Hope Farms' summer intern, wakes up every morning at 5 a.m. -- 4:30 on Saturdays -- to make the one-hour-plus journey from her home in Wallis, Texas, to the farm, where she can be seen digging, watering and harvesting produce alongside Justin Myers, the foundation's chief agricultural officer, and other volunteers. Megan calls herself the "Urban Farm Girl," and is an avid home baker and recent graduate of Houston Community College's Culinary Arts program.

Dickerson grew up in a small, rural community, so farming is second nature to the Texan. Indeed, she lives on a farm in Wallis with her father and son; the family raises beef cattle and horses, and Dickerson wouldn't have it any other way. Her focus is to become a part of an initiative that promotes food education, access to consumable foods and the overall well-being of society to build healthy food systems. Dickerson joined the Hope Farms family in May as a summer intern. When asked what drew her to Hope Farms, she replied: "We are teaching others how to cook and eat the vegetables that so many do not have access to on a consistent basis."

Here is a Q & A with Dickerson, who is also the owner of online baking company Simple & Sweet.

Recipe for Success: How did you hear about Hope Farms?
Dickerson: The Recipe For Success Foundation was mentioned in my Healthy Cuisine class, by Chef Judith Boykin. I visited the website and stumbled upon Hope Farms and reviewed the opportunities to volunteer and give back to the community, and I've been hooked ever since then.

R4S: Why did you volunteer?
Dickerson: Historically, I've been quite involved with volunteering my time. I recently graduated in Culinary Arts, and I wanted to volunteer my time becoming involved in a mission that not only could ignite my passion but afford me the knowledge to understand my focus on healthy cuisine, food systems, and how they translate from farm to fork. When I discovered, after doing research, that I once lived in a food desert, it was imperative to step in and be a part of this initiative.

R4S: What is the most important thing you have learned thus far working at the farm?
Dickerson: That we are all part of community on a much larger scale than imaginable, and if we look past cultural differences, working side by side we can achieve anything. Hope Farms has taught me that with a little ingenuity we can educate a community about the many vegetable varieties available to them and show them how to prepare meals on a budget. In addition, I have learned that the farm brings hope.

An Earth Day Weekend Success

James Brock
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GQ2B0887.JPGWe celebrated Earth Day Weekend 2018 in a big way at Hope Farms on the weekend of April 21 and 22. More than 600 attendees transformed the farm into a rollicking venue of education and fun on Saturday, and on the following day 50 guests feasted at one long table at the inaugural Chefs in the Field Supper.

To kick off the weekend, a full slate of diverse artisans and community partners -- including The Children's Museum, Magpies & Peacocks, The Garden Hen, Hive Bee, Living Well Therapies, Shana Ross Fitness, author Erin Hicks, Old Country Olive Oil, United Health Foundation, and Saint Arnold Brewing Company -- gathered at the farm and provided guests with learning opportunities, educational outreach, and artisanal foodstuffs. Darren Grigsby cooked up some fine brisket and boudin, while Local Foods grilled artichokes and other delicacies. Smart in the Kitchen, Chef Michael, Urban Chef and the Recipe for Success culinary team gave hands-on cooking classes in the Gathering Barn, and actor, Laura Bellomy read to tots and youngsters under the Lace Elm Tree. All that, and much more, made Saturday a wonderful one.

On Sunday, sapphire skies, bountiful fields, 50 guests, three chefs, Texas wines, a hot new grill, and a stellar menu--including freshly harvested produce from Hope Farms -- made the Recipe for Success Foundation's inaugural Chefs in the Field Supper at Hope Farms a success by any measure.Thumbnail image for A birdseye view of the communal table at Chefs in the Field.JPG

All members of the Foundation's Advisory Board, volunteer chefs Jean-Philippe Gaston (Izakaya), Vincent Huynh (Agricole Hospitality), and Greg Martin (Bistro Menil)-- who built the new grill themselves as a gift to the Farm -- wowed guests on Sunday night, during which the 50-foot-long table laid out in the farm's Gathering Barn was the scene of delicious fun.

Festivities began in the Chef's Kitchen Garden where Agricole Hospitality proprietor, Morgan Weber poured his signature Indianola Distillery Old Fashioneds, and Foundation Board member, Kathryne Castellanos and her volunteer brigade passed grilled polenta cakes and octopus bites along with Christian Martin Blanc de Blancs and Saint Arnold beers. After exploring the fields and meeting the chickens, guests took their seats for a five-course feast featuring wines from William Chris Vineyards. Progressing from Hope Farms veg crudité and roasted beet borscht to melt-in-your-mouth short ribs and whole grilled snappers--all served family style, the meal concluded with Dairy Maids cheeses, Bee Hive honeycomb and strawberry shortcakes. Sponsors Blue Horizon Seafood, Buckhead Meat, Hive Bee Farm donated their top-quality provisions for the evening.

Spotted at the table: tennis great Zina Garrison, Bryan Christ, Emily and Robert Clay, Dona & Al Clay, Erin Stewart O'Leary, Shamika Johnson, Genevieve and Shawn Patterson, Melanie and Daniel Ringold, Lisa and Paul Mason, Marnie Greenwood, Ana Llovera and Carlos Gonzales Centano, Sheryl and Ernie Rapp, Carrie and Sverre Brandsberg-Dahl, Yasmine Haddad and daughter Tatiana, Honi and Glen Boudreaux, Haley and Michael Carter, Ann and Tom Bastian and Recipe for Success Founders, Gracie and Bob Cavnar. The evening raised $12,000 for Hope Farms Community Outreach programs.

Enjoy fabulous photos of the weekend here:

Chefs In the Field April 2018

Happy Birthday, Hope Farms!

James Brock
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Hope-Farm-Earth-Day-Facebook-event-Header.jpgHappy Birthday, Hope Farms! It's not every day that you turn three years old, and this anniversary is going to be special, because the farm will be welcoming people of all ages to a spectacular weekend of food, fun, learning, activities and education. We'll be celebrating locally grown food and healthy lifestyles in grand fashion over two days.

A full schedule of events is planned for Saturday's free Family Festival & Picnic, including cooking classes, yoga, tai chi, storytime, farm photo safaris, garden explorations, chicken and bee demonstrations, activities and games. Community partners including The Children's Museum, Magpies & Peacocks, The Garden Hen and Hive Bee will be giving hands-on creative and learning opportunities at creation stations for kids and adults located throughout the farm. Living Well Therapies and Shana Ross Fitness will encourage visitors to get in touch with mother earth through movement classes scheduled on the half hour on the lawn. Smart in the Kitchen, Chef Michael, Urban Chef and the Recipe for Success culinary team will give hands-on cooking classes scheduled on the hour in the Gathering Barn.

In addition, photographer Katie Lenhart will lead Farm Photo Safaris sponsored by Mahindra, and there will be hourly games and activities to choose from in the Hope Farms Children's Garden. Local actor, Laura Bellomy will be reading to tots and youngsters under the Lace Elm Tree where families will be encouraged to picnic. Besides just-harvested produce from the farm, the regular Saturday Hope Farm Stand will celebrate its new United Health Foundation Gathering Barn by expanding to include many Houston makers such as Popston, Grateful Bread and Old Country Olive Oil, while Erin Hicks will be on hand to sign her latest award-winning cookbooks. The Sunnyside Community Center is planning to offer a BBQ lunch for a small donation.

On the following day, April 22, our inuagural Chefs in the Field Supper will take place, and chefs Ryan Pera (Agricole Hospitality), Jean Philippe Gaston (Izakaya), and Greg Martin (Bistro Menil) will create a meal for 50 guests, all seated at a long table amidst the fields of the farm. You can get your seat at the table by clicking here. Other supper dates set for 2018 are June 24, September 30 and November 11. Tickets for the evenings are $250 per person, and 100 percent of the proceeds support Recipe for Success Foundation projects to combat childhood obesity.

Sponsors for the free Family Festival and ongoing programs at Hope Farms include United Healthcare Foundation, Urban Craft Custom Homes, Sprouts Markets, Sysco Foods, Mahindra, Luby's/Fuddruckers, the Robert & Janice McNair Foundation and Enbridge. (See our Hope Farms HTX Facebook page for a complete listing of times for Saturday activities as they are scheduled)

Come See for Yourself!

Recipe for Success
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Hope Farm tour.jpgOn a brisk February weekend, James Brock invited a group of people to come out to Hope Farms, to see what our team at Recipe for Success Foundation is doing there and to meet Justin Myers, our Chief Agricultural Officer and head farmer. The Mission Continues was busy arranging beds and doing other work, the hawk was flying overhead, and customers were buying vegetables from our farm stand. It was a good day. Now it's your turn to see Hope Farms HTX -- contact and he'll share details about the next outing.

Order Your Farm Share

Recipe for Success
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Farm Shares 2017-18.jpgWe are excited to now offer farm share deliveries inside the loop for a nominal weekly charge. And to announce our new Farm-to-Office promotion which means free delivery to any location for 6 or more subscribers. So, get your colleagues or neighbors together and order up!

Hope Farms Gets Thumbs Up

Volunteer Ambassador
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Hope Farms came alive in May with students from Rodriguez Elementary School on a field trip and picnic visit

New Scholarship for Veterans

Recipe for Success
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FArmer.jpgHope Farms celebrated Veterans Day 2016 with the announcement of a new workforce development scholarship for U.S Veterans interested in pursuing a career in urban agriculture. Our Veteran Farmer Training Scholaraships are designed to empower a new battalion of urban agriprenuers.

The scholarships, funded by United Healthcare Foundation, provide a twelve-month Hope Farmer Training Program, which includes full-time wages, hands-on classes in horticulture, the business of growing and distribution of produce, as well as college level coursework in financial literacy, accounting, banking and business planning. Members of the Houston business community will mentor the trainees, who will also benefit from specially curated course work at Houston Community College and University of Houston in a well-rounded workforce development program designed to foster entrepreneurship.

Two U.S. Veterans will be awarded the scholarship in early 2017. The Foundation will gradually increase the number of annual awards to Veterans to a total of eight by 2019. Applications for the scholarship are being accepted here: through December 31, 2016.

Houston is home to one of the largest veteran populations in the country, and the Hope Farmer Training Program is a unique tool for empowerment and change. Research shows that Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress respond well to working in agriculture. Recipe for Success Foundation has built a coalition of support for the program with the Mission Continues, the Lone Star Veterans Association, Mental Health America - Veteran Outreach, Houston's Department of Veteran Affairs and Goodwill Veteran Employment Services among others. By transforming retired warriors into a battalion of new urban agripreneurs, the Foundation seeks to help solve the problem of equitable access to affordable, fresh produce in the city's poorest neighborhoods.

"We are particularly excited to provide the space for Vets to continue to serve their community in an environment that is conducive to their recovery from post-war stress," says Gracie Cavnar-founder of Recipe for Success Foundation, which developed and operates Hope Farms.

Introducing Amy Scott

Recipe for Success
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Amy Scott.jpgOur new Hope Farm Manager, Amy Scott started volunteering at the food pantry in Pasadena, California, right out of college.  Because she thought the pantry should offer healthier choices, Amy decided she needed to learn how to grow fresh produce and improve their offerings. Little did she know, that her deep concern about food security issues would propel her to seek greener fields and better produce--first in northern California, then east in New York and New Jersey where she discovered the secret to coaxing maximum productivity from small scale farms using organic methods, as well as a new beau who was a Princeton lad. When that Texas boy  managed to lure her to the Third Coast to try her hand in our East Texas gumbo, she tripped across Recipe for Success Foundation's new Hope Farms project as if it was her predetermined fate. Highly committed and driven by the pursuit of perfection, Amy has learned in dealing with Mother Nature's whims that having a well-developed sense of humor is very important.  She is most excited about this new challenge of building a farm from the ground up and empowering the surrounding community with fresh food.  "I've come full circle from the Food Pantry," she muses.  Welcome Amy!

Happy Mother's Day from Hope Farms

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We hit the farm this beautiful Mother's Day weekend because we were inspired. Mothers nurture us, help us grow and feed our bodies and souls till we're old enough to care for ourselves. That is our dream for Hope Farms- to help nurture Houston, help us grow nutritious and healthy and give us a space to help us reconnect with Mother Nature herself. Today, as we til the earth and prepare the get ground ready for life, we salute all mothers out there and the one mother that cares for us all- Mother Nature! Happy Mother's Day from all of us at Recipe for Success! 

Hope Farms Sunrise

If you have a group or team looking for volunteer opporutnities, we have you covered! Join us at Hope Farms- it takes us all to build a farm big enough for Houston! Email [email protected] or give us a call at 713.520.0443. 

Celebrate Earth Day at Hope Farms Groundbreaking!

Gracie Cavnar
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Join us on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2016, to learn about Hope Farms and impact it will have on the Houston community. Don't forget, you can still be a PART OF HOPE FARMS by visiting our Crowdrise page!  

Hope Farms Ribbon Cutting Event Invitation 4_21 .jpg

VIP Sneak Peak and Fundraising Video!

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We are on step closer to Recipe for Success's vision of a physical touch point with out food- Hope Farms! After securing the location in heart of Houston's Sunnyside community, we celebrating with a few of our closest friends.

Hope Farms

On guided tours with CEO and Founder, GracieCavnar, and Recipe for Success Agriculture Manager, Justin Myers, Grassroots Supporters heard and saw the vision for Hope Farms to be a gathering point for all of Houston to learn about and eat healthy, nutritious and local foods. Our guests were also o treated to a special healthy, cooking demo from Recipe for Success's Chef Justin Kouri. HopeFarmsWe also finished shooting a fun, little video that will give you a better idea of Hope Farms and let you know how YOU can become a Grassroots Investor! Read more here, watch the video and stay tuned for updates on the Hope Farms Groundbreaking!

Hope Farms YouTube Link

And SAVE THE DATE! On Earth Day 2016, April 22nd, we will break ground on Houston's new urban farm, Hope Farms!


Reap, Sow, Grow: Hope Farms Update

Shannon Smith
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Alejandra Cervantes

The vision for Hope Farms, our urban agricultural project, came into sharper focus during December 2015 as Professor Susan Rogers' students at The University of Houston Gerald Hines College of Architecture unveiled their cutting-edge designs for a space that would empower a community and bring generations together. 

Multi-use spaces, placement of entries, presentation to the street and neighbors, thoughtful resource use and building materials, solar panels and water capture, interesting people and project flow and integration of agriculture and community areas were all on display in beautifully handcrafted models showing the full potential of the farm woven into the fabric of its surrounding community. Students presented their ideas, models and reasoning to Recipe for Success Founder & CEO, Gracie Cavnar and Professors Danny Samuels and Nonya Grenader, project advisors from Rice University whose Design Build Lab students hope to construct the final project. 
The architecture designs all highlighted a great sense of community, ranging from welcoming signs and scenic rows or crops to retention ponds that double as soccer fields and pavilions that can be used for gatherings for the whole community. Bringing people together is a key theme for Hope Farms, which seeks to unite the community, veterans, families and farmers as it produces affordable produce for neighbors marooned in one of Houston's largest food deserts.
UH Hope Farms Design

One University of Houston Architecture Student, Alejandra Cervantes, joined Gracie on air on Sunday, December 13 on KTRK's Viva Houston to discuss the developments and the issue of food deserts and how Hope Farms aims to address that critical issue and more in the Sunnyside community of Houston.

Hope Farms and its Rolling Green Market received more good news recently from the USDA! Recipe for Success is thrilled to announce a $100,000 grant from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)to increase domestic consumption of and access to locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations. Hope Farms and the Rolling Green Market will be doing just that by bring fresh produce straight from the farm to the underserved community and training and educating the community about farming and agriculture.

UH Architects design urban farm proposed for Sunnyside

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Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 4.44.23 PM.pngThere are few places residents to buy fresh fruits and vegetables in of Sunnyside, a part of Houston considered to be a food desert. But a nonprofit group's proposal to develop an urban farm in the neighborhood aims to change that.

Read the rest of the article and see pictures from the presentations HERE

Urban Ag is BOOMING & Hope Farms Is On Board!

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Farmers markets are booming with numbers increasing to more than 8,500 from up from the 5,274 in 2009! Recipe for Success and Hope Farms are right on track with that growth and the USDA knows it! We are delighted to be the recipient of one of their awards that will increase access to local foods announced this week amounting to nearly $35 million allocated to communities. In honor of this award, we thought we'd educate you a little more about urban farming and why it is so important.

First off, what exactly is Urban Agriculture? Urban agriculture is the practice of growing food in an urban environment and that is what we will be doing at Hope Farms. Through urban agriculture, people are brought closer to the source of food production. This in turn could potentially lead to decreased food insecurity.

What exactly is food security? The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food security as "...access by all people at all times to enough nutritious food for an active, healthy life."1 Food insecurity refers to a diet of reduced quality, variety, and desirability for some populations. To achieve food security, food must be readily available at all times to all people, and be of sufficient quality and nutritional value to sustain a healthy and active life. Security depends on diversified food systems of food preparation, production and distribution.  

In America, More than 23 million people in live in food deserts and this lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related illness, such as diabetes and heart disease.

With Hope Farms, we will try to bridge the gap found in Houston's food deserts and create security with our Rolling Green Market, which will deliver significantly reduced-priced, fresh fruits and vegetables and The Hope Farms Co-Op, which will distribution of products to premium and wholesale buyers, CSA members, farm-to-school programs and farmers markets to support the new urban agribusinesses. Find more about what Hope Farms is doing here

Lance Gilliam: Champion of Food Justice

Sandra Cook
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Three cheers for Lance Gilliam --  winner of the 2015 Mayor's Award: Champion of Food Justice. In the business world, Lance Gilliam has more than 35 years of experience representing retailers, restaurateurs and financial institutions with market analysis, site selection and transaction negotiation. He currently serves as a Partner for Waterman Steele Real Estate Advisors specializing in building and managing face-to-face outreach operations to build support for products, causes, issues and real estate market strategies to achieve tangible outcomes for clients.


With his background as the co-owner of the Cooking School of Aspen with his wife Jennifer, and his passion for philanthropy, Lance has been a longtime Recipe for Success Foundation cheerleader and is planning to donate the land for our Hope Farms urban agricultural project in the Sunnyside area of Houston. 

"I learned about Hope Farms in 2014, and although our proposed development in Sunnyside remains complicated and a work in progress, the commitment to include Hope Farms is an important one," says Lance Gilliam. "Hope Farms is an initiative that will bind a community with a place," he says. "It will connect people with land. Not only will it create jobs by training new farmers, it will offer a community the opportunity to experience urban farming at a scale well beyond what they have experienced before."

"Solving food access issues in our food deserts is so important on so many different levels, and it's really just the right thing to do," Lance says. "The only conversation to be had is how do you do it? Recipe for Success really teaches people how to access the food in a garden and how to use that food, how to do good things with it -- and make it taste good."

 HopeFarms_GlenB & Lance G_FOR BLOG.jpegGlenn Boudreaux and Lance Gilliam at Hope Farms site

He believes connecting people to the land is essential, "not only for the health of our families and children, but it's also healthy for business," he says. "Especially for communities that are lower income, solving food access issues is important for revitalizing those communities, not only on a family and individual level, but also in terms of the entire community."

Lance is a firm believer in the Hope Farms vision. "My hope is that Hope Farms will take food justice to the next level not only by providing a physical place for families to gather and get food from the garden together, but in terms of job training and creating jobs, it's literally like giving someone a fishing pole teach them how to fish, instead of just giving them a fish," says Lance. "Hope Farms will bring opportunities to teach folks how to farm and create an income and hopefully get them out of tough places, giving them new job skills, which is wonderful."

Lance champions for Hope Farms for the capacity it has to transform and revitalize the Sunnyside community. "This great community has an incredible history," says Lance. "It is currently home to about 70,000 people, most of them are African-American, many of them lower-income families. It's an area where there hasn't been a new grocery store built since the early 1970s. Although there's number of community gardens, that are important, but nothing on the scale of Hope Farms."

"My hope for Hope Farms is that it makes an impact that goes well beyond the property itself," says Lance. "And that it brings a brightness to the men and women that work there, as well as to the families around the Hope Farms site and really carries through their daily lives." 

UH & Rice partner on design plan

Sandra Cook
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Students, professors, architects and sponsors gathered in Rice University's Anderson Hall on September 17 to peruse designs by twenty University of Houston and Rice architecture students who created site plan ideas for Hope Farms, a new urban agriculture project by Recipe for Success Foundation. 


Hope Farms is the beneficiary of the first-ever joint effort to involve both nationally renowned architectural programs in Houston. Architecture students in Susan Rogers' Community Design Resource Center at the University of Houston's Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design, joined with Rice School of Architecture's Rice Building Workshop students led by Danny Samuels and Nonya Grenader all participated in the charette, which is an intense collaborative session to draft solutions to a design problem.

Hope Farms will be located on 2.5 acres in Houston's historic Sunnyside community, in the midst of one of the area's recognized food deserts, where the Foundation will grow and distribute affordable fresh produce to the neighborhood, train displaced U.S. Veterans as new urban farmers and provide jobs for area youth. The farm will include a market stand for the neighborhood, a community space for events and gatherings, raised beds for educational projects, a teaching and culinary demonstration space, orchard and much more.

Charged with integrating building and agricultural layouts to minimize energy use, maximize produce production and to engage the neighborhood, the students had to first consider the land and determine ways to draw in the surrounding community. A spectrum of creative ideas were presented, including aligning rows of crops to serve as a living, nurturing billboard for passing auto and pedestrian traffic and creating structures or pathways to visually connect two nearby schools to the Hope Farms site.

A host of fans for the Hope Farms project turned out for the student presentation including Recipe for Success Foundation Founder & CEO Gracie Cavnar and Agriculture & Garden Director, Justin Myers; Helen Bow, Assistant Vice President, Communications, Wells Fargo, which provided a sizable Neighborhood Lift grant to get the project started; Rudy Garcia, Texas Health Plan Executive Director for United Healthcare; Kelli King Jackson, Program Officer, Simmons Foundation; Nancy Bailey, Public Affairs and Communications Manager-Houston, Coca-Cola; and Dayni Alba, Corporate Social Responsibility/ Community & Education Investor, Boeing.


Professor Rogers and her students are excited to take the best solutions from the charette to develop the final site and building designs and during the fall semester will complete full architectural drawings for the project. "It will be a remarkable holiday gift for our Hope Farms  come December," said Cavnar. The historic collaboration between the two schools will continue as Rice Professors Samuels and Grenader and their students utilize the UH plans to begin the onsite build out next year. Professor Rogers is committed to building community infrastructure to support and promote healthier lifestyles. In 2013, her Community Design Resource Center collaborated with key stakeholders to create an idea book for Sunnyside that suggested urban farming as a critical component.  

Recipe for Success Foundation has inspired a broad coalition--two architecture schools, numerous corporate, foundation and private funders, veterans groups and community volunteers--collaborating to build a healthy future for Houston's Sunnyside community. For more information see our Hope Farms page

A Decade in the Making

Recipe for Success
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Glen-&-Honi-Bourdeaux-optimized.jpgThe first time Gracie met Glen Boudreaux, he approached her after a presentation about her vision for a new organization called Recipe for Success, which included the idea of Hope Farms to bring fresh produce into underserved Houston neighborhoods.  At the time, the term food desert had yet to appear in the national conversation.  He said, "Gracie, I know all about non-profit farming; what can I do to help?" A new partnership was born on the spot!  Since that day, Honi & Glen Boudreaux have worked with Gracie to bring the vision of Hope Farms to reality. Now thanks to a substantial grant from Wells Fargo Foundation, a sizeable gift of land in Houston's Sunnyside neighborhood plus initial capital and operating gifts from the Simmons and Brown Foundations, Hope Farms is about to sprout as a showcase urban farm where we will train displaced veterans to become urban agri-entrepreneurs, while we grow and distribute affordable fresh produce for our neighbors and friends.
Glen and Honi are committed to expanding the farm belt around Houston and to building a sustainable urban farm system inside the city to help alleviate access issues in our city's poorest neighborhoods. We can't even add up the hours that they have spent over years with Gracie in meetings to plan, layout and negotiate a site for Hope Farms, which has suffered fits and starts through the years as one real estate deal after another fell through. No one gave up. In the meantime, these founding members of the Recipe for Success Board of Directors have contributed endless energy and re¬sources to encourage healthier diets among Houstonians and created a model of ag¬ricultural best practices at their Jolie Vue Farms near Brenham. They co-founded the Rice University Farmers Market and launched the first home delivery of farm-raised products in Houston.

The Boudreauxs were our Champions of Food Justice in 2013 and will are excited to honor them again this year as founding board members at the Blue Plate Special Lunch on November 18.  But the best day of the year will be when Honi and Glen can wander out into the fields of Hope Farms, pick a piece of fruit right off the vine and hand it to someone for their dinner!

Let us know if you want to help us build the barn, train the farmers and plant the fields at Hope Farms with either time or treasure.