Shade for Sunnyside

by Eric Morris

The Sunnyside Canopy Project aimed to provide much needed shade for the volunteer gardeners in Urban Harvest’s two community gardens in Sunnyside. Sunnyside is one of Houston’s largest food deserts and these gardens provide nutritious fruits and vegetables for the community.

Urban Harvest works closely with communities all over the greater Houston area to better schools, gardens, and public spaces. When I heard that Urban Harvest had projects in Sunnyside, I immediately wanted to learn how I could get involved. I contacted the Community Gardens Coordinator, Dawn Newcomer, and together we planned to install canopies in each of the Sunnyside community gardens. After many hours of planning and revisions, I set to work with the help of my Boy Scout Troop 20 and a youth group from St. Luke’s United Methodist. I could not be more grateful for all of their hard work and dedication and the amount of effort they showed towards the project. First, we dug 3ft holes with a 1-man auger and then installed and sunk 4 posts into each garden, all of which we completed on Saturday, September 30th. As we wrapped up the first day, my work on planning out the second began almost instantly.

The posts were given a week to set and we returned on October 7th to install the canopies onto the posts. On this day 20+ scouts from my troop helped me, which was amazing. During this day, we installed the canopies onto the posts and at the same time, restored garden beds that had been overgrown with weeds due to Hurricane Harvey. Seeing all of the scouts working alongside the garden manager made me feel proud. Knowing that what we were doing was going to make a huge impact in Sunnyside was the most exuberating feeling one can possibly have.

Eric Morris completed his Eagle Scout project with Urban Harvest this fall. He is a senior at St. Pius X High School where he runs cross country.