Farm Local Houston is an initiative created to provide high quality learning experiences and support networks for local Houston residents who wish to learn how to grow and managed an alternative urban farm within their community. The program is open to all Houston gardeners, urban farmers, and other individuals who want to learn about growing food but our focus is to help low-resource and socially disadvantaged residents.
Despite a fully recovered economy, 1 in 6 Texans suffer with food insecurity. Texas children are the most impacted with 1 in 4 suffering with not enough to eat. Low-income and limited access are driving factors for this issue.
In 2015, the USDA reported that 17% of Texas families struggled to avoid hunger. In raw numbers, 1.7 million Texas households were food insecure, more than any other state except California. The state’s food insecurity rate was once again statistically unchanged from the prior three-year period. In 2015 year, the number of children who were at risk of hunger increased by 18,630 in southeast Texas growing the number to 448,490 kids who live in homes that don’t have consistent access to nutritious food.
Food insecure people – who are often living in poverty or just above it – can have food in their pantries, but they often cannot afford fresh produce, meat and other nutritious items that are necessary for a healthy life. Processed food high in sugar and fat are a more affordable alternative. According to Centers for Disease Control, the poorer the child, the higher the risk of early childhood obesity.
According to the report, 87% of food insecure Americans lived in a household earning less than 185% of the federal poverty line, the equivalent of $37,000 for a family of three and the cut-off for many federal programs.
1) provide up to 15 beginning urban farmers with the hands-on knowledge and skills to produce food sustainably and develop and manage their community farms
2) to improve healthy food access and food security in low-income Houston communities
HOW WE WANT TO HELP
Educate and train 100-200 students interested in urban farming. Training will allow students to gain knowledge and skills through courses to produce food sustainably and develop and manage their community micro-farm and how to leverage it as a business.
Select and train 30-40 students. This advanced class will gain more advanced urban farming training and hands on training through the new Future of Farming Initiative in partnership with Nicole’s Garden and Texas Southern University (Adult Continuing Education).
25-35 students gain in-depth, hands-on experience through apprenticeship hours to produce food sustainably, identify food deserts, develop and manage, business setup, business planning, consumer targeting and marketing activities with our local partners.
15-25 students will participate in classroom training and practical application of business planning, developing relationships with target customers (restaurants, grocers, farmers markets, wholesalers). A certificate of training & completion will be given verifying that participant completed the Farming Local Houston Program.