Urban Farm Project Starts In Houston’s Sunnyside To Address Food Desert Problem

Hope Farms will bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the low-income community.


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Sunnyside is a majority African-American community in south central Houston. The median household income here is $24,000, and much of it is a food desert, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That means a high number of residents live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.

And so it's no coincidence that Gracie Cavnar with the non-profit Recipe for Success chose this community to build Hope Farms, a seven-acre urban farm project that would bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the community.

"Fifty percent of that we will be providing at or below cost for sale to our neighbors," Cavnar said. "And 50 percent of that we'll be selling at premium prices to folks who can well afford it and to chefs who are working with us to grow premium crops for them."

Cavnar wants to train military veterans to work on the farm.

Tracy Stephens, president of the Sunnyside Civic Club, said every year millions of dollars that could be spent here go to places like Pearland, which has a better choice of grocery stores.

"As far as good quality food at a great price, it's something that we don't have," Stephens said. "And if people see that we can get that here in our own community, I think we would keep these monies here."

The Sunnyside farm should be fully operational in about a year.

Cavnar said if things go according to plan, this will only be the first in a network of farms in Houston's food deserts.






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