The mission of the Urban Gardening Program at WHRI is to partner with local organizations in developing healthy, sustainable communities through the education and exploration of healthy, sustainable food systems. We also support the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition (HOT UGC) in many community wide initiatives.
Our vision for the Urban Gardening Program is to focus on our school gardens as a hub that connects us to the surrounding neighborhoods and broader Waco community. By focusing on our school gardens, we hope to expand the urban gardening program to include more aspects of community development in the neighborhoods surrounding our pilot school(s).
World Hunger Relief is involved with Communities in Schools – Heart of Texas after school programs at Indian Springs Middle (website coming soon), Tennyson Middle, West Avenue Elementary, J.H. Hines Elementary, and Brook Avenue Elementary. The students at all of the programs take vegetables home to their families and also share them with the less fortunate in our community.
Through these programs, students discover how to grow and take care of both ornamental plants and food crops. These programs get the students involved in the garden with hands-on activities such as planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, watering plants, pulling weeds, harvesting vegetables, and composting yard waste. Students see science in action and learn life science essentials such as the needs of plants, the parts of a plant, and the process of photosynthesis. Gardening emphasizes many of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) objectives across subject areas, and helps students improve health & diet habits, develop communication skills, understand food system issues, and practice good citizenship.
We partner closely with the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition and Communities in Schools Heart of Texas in providing these gardening clubs. We receive financial support from 21st Century Learning Centers Grant through Waco ISD’s ACE afterschool program, and Alcoa Foundation, Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission, Cooper Foundation, Darden Foundation, Walmart Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation. We are also a Waco ISD Partner in Education.
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