University of Houston Honors College students from the Bonner Leaders Program planted a community fruit tree orchard at the New Hope Housing Canal Street Apartments for a service project called "Cultivate."
"Basically what we want to do is establish community gardnes and orchards in low-income areas,” said Robert Laroche, a Bonner Leader.
The mass planting of more than a dozen fruit trees is an effort to add “edible beauty” to the historic East End.
"We wanted to create an orchard that brings enjoyment to the residents and also offers them easy access to fresh fruit. The Bonner leaders are constantly working to build better communities in Houston,” said Shannon Keen, Honors College director of service learning and student outreach. “One day we hope to add a community garden at a different New Hope location.”
New Hope Housing is a nonprofit with a mission to provide life-stabilizing, affordable, permanent housing and support services for people who live on very limited incomes.
"This is a space people can come and meet and cultivate a community, and that’s what we’re really about is creating community," said Garrett Clark.
This latest initiative expands the partnership between UH and New Hope. In 2015, the Campus Kitchen program began preserving unused food from university dining facilities and serving it to Houstonians at New Hope.
“New Hope and UH have worked closely together to address food insecurity in our community, and this fruit tree orchard is a key product of that commitment. Additionally, this orchard is a product of our commitment to the beautification of our city,” said Sarah Mangrem, New Hope Housing director of resident programs. “We believe deeply in the nexus between green space and architecture, and we are proud to partner with the University of Houston.”
Urban Harvest designed the space where citrus, grapefruit, orange, persimmon and fig trees were planted.