Pollination not only occurs in nature but also at Urban Harvest.

Pollination not only occurs in Nature but also at Urban Harvest 🐝

With the idea of building an organization that mimicked nature, in the early days of Urban Harvest, our funders adopted one of the building blocks of Permaculture, the concept of Stacking Functions. Through Stacking Functions, each of our programs was designed to imitate the elements of a sustainable garden by serving multiple functions that were interconnected with each other and allow us – the gardeners – to maximize the overall output with the minimum amount of input. Almost thirty years later, Urban Harvest has become one of the most influential organizations leading the Good Food Movement in Houston, by following this concept of permaculture to create inclusive spaces for all Houstonians to engage with nature, access healthy and local food choices, and empower communities to grow organic food.

The idea of a Holistic approach finds its roots in the concept of Stacking Functions as well. For many years, our leaders saw that when Houstonians of all ages and backgrounds have the freedom of choice and meanings to enroll in a gardening class, visit our farmers markets, or join a volunteer day at a community garden or school garden, as they wander, they also become part of something bigger and stay connected with our community in one way or another. The output of these positive feedback loops: Healthier families and resilient communities.

Preliminary Results from Urban Harvest's Cross-Pollination Rate

The Cross-Pollination Rate is our first stride at documenting our Holistic approach and gaining a better understanding at how Houstonians – whether they have a green thumb or not – can grow within Urban Harvest and wander across our programs while they improve their diets and support the local economy. Our hope, to inform our future actions with a better understanding of the role and interconnectedness of each of our programs along the pathways that individuals, families, and communities embark on towards healthier lifestyles.

In 2021-2022, Urban Harvest collected survey data from community members. Across programs, we asked the same question:

In which other ways have you engaged with Urban Harvest?

Our preliminary results show that individuals who donate show a higher cross-pollination rate on average (40%) compared to, for example, farmers market shoppers (33%) or class participants (32%).

An outstanding striking 80% of donors who completed our annual survey (N=76) have shopped at our Saturday Farmers Market!

Stay tuned! In 2022 we are gathering data from our volunteers and community gardeners too!!