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, most to build communities, and many 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 excellent hands-on education. School curricula are reinforced though planting, cultivating, and harvesting vegetables and fruits. In addition, children learn valuable lessons in working as a team - lessons in decision making, life skills and compassion.
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.
Allotment style is when gardeners rent 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 as well 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.