Three women staff a farm stand with a produce van in the background.

Recipe for Success Foundation Brings Urban Farming into the Home


Searching for a way to combat childhood obesity, Gracie and Bob Cavnar founded Recipe for Success Foundation in 2005. In the years leading up to this, the couple saw obesity rates steadily rising in their hometown of Houston, Texas as people increasingly lost their connection with food and turned to processed, fast foods instead. By creating programs that serve the community, teach children and families about healthier diets, and provide students with hands-on lessons to grow their own food, the Cavnars have helped thousands of people across Houston, and beyond, improve their nutrition.

Today, Recipe for Success Foundation works with more than 4,000 children every month. With five key programs – Farmers MarKIDS, Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education, the VegOut! Challenge, Hope Farms, and Eat It! Food Adventures – the nonprofit teaches kids and families that nutritious foods should be celebrated!

Like many organizations, Recipe for Success has been shaken by the pandemic and forced to discover new ways to thrive. Determined to continue providing fresh produce to their community, Recipe For Success Foundation converted their famed Saturday Farmers Market into a drive-thru Farm Stand. To do this, they catalogued their produce and created a webpage where customers could pre-order online. Now, community members can select their fruits and vegetables from home and pick them up safely while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

Heartbroken that restaurants were also feeling the weight of the pandemic, cofounder Gracie Cavnar reached out to local chefs, like Ben McPherson, of BOH Pasta & Pizza, and offered to sell his fresh pizza and pasta on her farmers market’s website. Cavnar said that this, like many other adaptations they’ve made during the pandemic, is something Recipe for Success would like to continue with in the future.

Another major change came in April when the lockdown threatened to cancel their biggest event of the year, their annual Earth Day celebration, taking place on their 7-acre farm, Hope Farms. Recipe for Success came up with a creative way to transform their annual community celebration into an interactive online event.

From farm walks, to cooking classes, to composting lessons, the Recipe For Success team wanted to ensure that attendees would get the entire Hope Farms experience, and so they presented a live stream of staff engaged in all of these activities! They even hosted a segment where viewers could meet the bees, chickens and goats on the farm, creating an experience that many people at home in quarantine craved. Hundreds of supporters watched the event live, and dozens more later viewed it online.

Although the pandemic has created unique challenges this year, Recipe for Success Foundation has used their creativity to move programs forward. Thanks to their innovative approach, they’re able to continue serving their community, keeping people connected with fresh, local food during a time when it’s so important.


A woman at Hope Farms hands a brown paper bag of produce to a farmer's market customer, through their car window.
Customers swing by Hope Farms to pick up produce and other locally-sourced goods.

Screenshot of produce options available through Hope Farms in Houston.
Farm-fresh kale, dill, eggs, and more are available on the Hope Farms webpage.

Young chickens make an appearance on the Earth Day livestream.
Baby chicks make an appearance during Recipe for Success Foundation’s Earth Day celebration.