— Grant will provide solar shade structure, irrigation system and water harvesting tank for sustainable community garden —
HOUSTON – November 11, 2019 – The largest network of community gardens and farmers markets in Houston is growing. Urban Harvest will introduce its new, 5,600-square-foot teaching garden with a dedication ceremony on Saturday, November 16 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., at the nonprofit’s headquarters in Houston’s East End. The sustainable garden will serve as a community green space and demonstration teaching garden, which leaves zero carbon footprint.
The project is made possible by a grant of more than $125,000 from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. The grant will pay for a solar shade structure to power LED lights, a garden irrigation system, a 2,400-gallon rainwater harvesting tank, and garden boxes made of a wide variety of materials filled with locally sourced dirt, mulch and compost. The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club teaching garden, located on a reclaimed railroad right-of-way, is expected to grow over 475 pounds of produce annually. The Sun Club grant will also fund Urban Harvest’s semi-annual HUB distributions of plants, seed and fertilizer available to the 142 community gardens in their network for the next three years.
“The Sun Club seeks to empower nonprofits with sustainability solutions, and this teaching garden will not only serve to educate others but also provide healthy food options to the neighborhood with zero impact to the environment,” said Mark Parsons, vice president and general manager for Green Mountain Energy. “We are passionate about supporting organizations that are making positive changes in our communities.”
Founded in 1994, with its office located at 3302 Canal Street, Urban Harvest has garnered a well-deserved reputation as a leader in the local food movement. Since its inception, the nonprofit has cultivated communities of gardeners, educators, farmers and neighbors to launch thriving gardens and farmers markets. Urban Harvest runs the largest farmers market in the region every Saturday, located at 2752 Buffalo Speedway, featuring dozens of local vendors.
“We are excited to use this space as an outdoor classroom for sustainable learning, hands-on classes and events for the community,” said Janna Roberson, executive director for Urban Harvest. “The garden will be 100 percent organic, having fruit trees, vegetables and a pollinator garden, and our outreach will include the East End neighborhood as well as those coming for classes from across the city. We are thankful for the Sun Club’s donation as it enables us to further our mission to provide community garden programming, farmers markets, gardening classes and youth education.”
The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club has been empowering local communities with sustainable solutions since 2002. Through nonprofit partnerships and sustainability grants, the organization supports projects promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource conservation and environmental stewardship. Sun Club is funded by Green Mountain Energy, its customers and employees.
To learn more about the Sun Club grant, visit gmesunclub.org/urban-harvest
ABOUT URBAN HARVEST
Urban Harvest was founded in 1994 by individuals who believed that people can feed and revitalize their communities by growing healthy food. This core belief led to the creation of community gardens that address important issues like hunger, health, community development, and ecological, equitable land management. The Community Gardens Program paved the way for organic garden education: our Gardening Classes teach and promote the benefits of organic and sustainable methods, and our Youth Education Program has taught children hands-on lessons in school gardens to enhance classroom learning and promote youth health since 2003. In 2004, Urban Harvest opened a year-round farmers market – now the largest in the region – that provides economic opportunity for local growers and gardeners and offers a community space for Houstonians to gather and share. In 2019, Urban Harvest is celebrating 25 years of enriching the lives, soils, and plates of Houstonians.
ABOUT GREEN MOUNTAIN ENERGY SUN CLUB
The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing sustainable communities. As a 501(c)(3) organization, the Sun Club® invests in nonprofits and focuses on projects related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource conservation and environmental stewardship. Since the program’s founding in 2002, the Sun Club has donated nearly $7 million to more than 110 nonprofit organizations across Texas and the Northeast. To learn more about the Sun Club or to apply for a Sun Club grant, visit gmesunclub.org.
Green Mountain Energy Sun Club
Janna Roberson, Executive Director