Urban Harvest supports more than 100 community gardens in and around Houston. Some gardens exist primarily to grow fruits and vegetables for donations, some are used to educate students, to build communities, and/or to provide food for nutrition and sales. Most gardens have a primary focus, though many serve more than one function.
The fruits and vegetables grown in these gardens are donated to local food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
School gardens are used as outdoor classrooms, providing hands-on education. School curricula are reinforced though planting, cultivating, and harvesting vegetables and fruits. Through these skills, children learn valuable lessons in teamwork, decisionmaking, and healthy lifestyles.
There are several gardens in Houston where neighbors work collectively and share produce equally. Sometimes these gardens donate leftover produce as well. Neighborhood gardens provide beautiful greenspaces where residents gather and commune.
In allotment gardens, gardeners rent individual plots for a monthly fee. As a group, they maintain the shared spaces.
Therapy gardens provide an opportunity for physical, emotional, and spiritual health and healing. Gardens at hospitals, clinics and special-needs schools provide therapy to the disabled and, at the same time, serve as a source of nutritious food. Gardens at elder-care centers inspire residents to get excercise and fresh air while working with their neighbors in a community setting.
Community gardens can provide a source of income to gardeners — revenue which ultimately benefits the community. Local growers sell produce to individuals, restaurants, and at farmers markets.