What’s Growing On, Houston?
Like Audrey Hepburn said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”. At Urban Harvest, we resonate with this phrase as we believe in the power of gardens and communities to shape the future and resiliency of our city. We transform this belief into action by making sure that over 162 edible gardens across the Greater Houston Region have everything they need to grow healthy food choices and cultivate thriving communities.
Led by our Community Gardens Manager, Randall Mosman, we are very excited to share with you the out-of-the-chart achievements that we have accomplished together in the past year:
In 2021, our Seasonal Hub Distributions reached 103 unique gardens!
In 2021, our Seasonal Hub Distributions supported the recovery efforts of 103 unique gardens and broke our three-year participation record. Each season, our gardens receive seeds, transplants, and other gardening tools at no cost. In 2021, we were able to serve almost 65% of our affiliated gardens and increase our support towards those located in areas identified as “food deserts” across Houston.
For the past three years, Urban Harvest has institutionalized the Community Gardens’ Annual Survey to create a consistent and reliable space for our garden leaders to share their needs and feedback with us. Since 2019, we have increased our survey response rate from 30% in 2019 to 55% in 2020 and 62% in 2021. With this, Urban Harvest is building a robust database that shows our impact and can support local research efforts around the impact of community gardens in our environment and communities.
Only in the past year, we have received over 19 applications to become an affiliated garden and we have on-boarded more than 16 new community gardens to our network. The pandemic led to a huge resurgence of interest in gardening and we expect this trend continues to grow as more people engage in outdoor and healthy living activities.
Together, we are cultivating healthier soils, food choices, and communities. These and other achievements have been possible through an increased investment in communication, technologies, and support from the CenterPoint Energy Foundation. In 2022, we foresee that our Community Gardens Program will continue building capacity for Houstonians to grow their own food.