Houston’s Recipe for Success Foundation at Hope Farms is building a new rainwater capture system that can save thousands of gallons of water per year for the seven-acre organic farm. The organization, which has made its mission around growing affordable and healthy produce for residents of the Third Ward and Sunnyside neighborhoods, hopes to reap both environmental and economic benefits from the new system.
The new rainwater capture system can store almost 100,000 gallons of collected rain annually across the seven-acre farm. Once the water is collected, it is filtered and re-used for numerous farm needs, including watering the fields, plumbing systems in the kitchens and bathrooms, and washing the harvest. There are multiple natural benefits to using recycled rainwater. Since the water is collected before it hits the ground, it’s free of many contaminants and pollutants in underwater supplies. It’s also soft water, free from harsh groundwater minerals, which eliminates the need for a water softener standard in many south Texas households and businesses. Fewer minerals mean less wear and tear on appliances and pipes, and less soap needs to be used to clean dishes or laundry. It’s also great for the natural areas around the farm.
This is excellent news for Hope Farms, which runs the Delivering Hope initiative. The initiative gives free bags of produce out to dozens of Sunnyside neighborhood residents with children on a free lunch program. It’s also great news for the natural areas that surround the farm.
“We are a vegetable farm, but we also are a large wildlife habitat that borders Sims Bayou,” said Gracie Cavnar, Founder and CEO of Recipe for Success. “Thoughtful water management is important, and this extensive capture and management system will ensure that the copious rainwater running off our barns and buildings will be redirected in the most productive way for both our everyday use and the best environmental impact on the land and habitat.”
Hope Farms hopes to see great results from this sustainable addition. The farm expects a significant reduction in water and energy costs and can store rainwater in emergencies. There is a positive community impact since using rainwater means less public water and less stress on underwater water supplies and aquifers. It’s also great to teach the community about water conservation and healthy eating.
“This is wonderful,” said Houston City Council Member David W. Robinson. “We’ve got water harvesting systems behind me, we’ve got resources all around us, and we’ve got great people who care for others.”
By taking its water off the grid, Hope Farms is creating a healthier, more sustainable Houston – particularly for communities most in need of fresh, organic produce to promote healthy diets and a cleaner environment.