Despite harrowing citywide flooding, the week of April 18th still ended with a rainbow of new beginnings at the April 22nd Earth Day celebration and groundbreaking for Hope Farms. Located in the community of Sunnyside, the seven-acre landscape is the latest adventure from Recipe for Success Foundation (RSF) as a way to continue their mission of introducing and sharing healthy vegetables to people of all ages and walks of life, especially those experiencing the challenges of life in a food desert.
At an intimate ceremony led by RSF founder Gracie Cavnar community members and local officials took time to acknowledge the essential work of the foundation while celebrating the good that will surely result from its farm partnerships. “We are building a community around fresh food and shared meals. We hope that you will be a part of what we are creating here. A place where delicious healthy food is appreciated, shared, and celebrated,” invited Cavnar. Recognition was also made to two Houston-area schools that demonstrated significant commitment during the foundation’s annual VegOut! this past March; the event challenges participants to eat 30 different vegetables in 30 days. Annunciation Greek Orthodox School and Cedar Brook Elementary were awarded the Principal’s Prize while Travis Elementary took home the Chipotle Award.
“Hope Farms will complete our portfolio of grassroots intervention of childhood obesity by changing the way children understand food and empowering parents and caregivers to provide healthier food for their children,” said Cavnar. The seven acres of land will not only be a source of food for Houstonians, but will encourage military vets to enter the business of agriculture. Former military folks, many suffering from PTSD, will be trained in the ins and outs of farming, a practice recognized to be calming for trauma sufferers. "We feel like this beautiful pastoral environment will help them create a new path for their lives," Cavnar explained.
A farm stand, in turn, will provide jobs and internships for neighborhood youth and supply the mobile Rolling Green Market. The farm will welcome field trips, learning excursions, onsite workshops with gardening and cooking classes, and internships to ensure knowledge and experience extends beyond the corners of the property. A Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ program will be in place for children and their families to learn and grow an appreciation for good food together.
After all the words were spoken, individuals were invited to grab shovels bedecked with large yellow bows and sink the blades into the soft earth. The farm was officially on its way, harkened by a sea of smiles and an exuberant exclamation to “Throw dirt!”