Harvesting Hope: Nurturing health and hope with locally grown produce for those in need
By Alexis Cruz, CBS 12 News, August 22, 2023
STUART, Fla. (CBS12) — Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties have new resources for fresh and healthy food.
It starts in the greenhouse where volunteers plant, clean, grow, and harvest produce like lettuce, tomatoes, melons and more.
“It’s really making a difference in the quality and caliber of how lower-income people are able to eat,” said House of Hope CEO Robert Ranieri.
The greenhouse uses hydroponics, a technique that uses a water-based nutrient solution rather than soil.
Once the food is harvested it moves to the brand new packing house.
The new space helps House of Hope produce 1,600 gallon-sized bags of produce a week.
“Right now we have about 65,000 cubic feet of greenhouse space, our grove with about seventy fruit trees, and some in-ground growing,“ said Ranieri.
The other thing that keeps this farm functioning is volunteers.
“We get a great appreciation for how much work there is into producing food,” said volunteer Dick Landrum.
With the help of volunteers, House of Hope is able to produce enough food for their four Martin County food pantries and donations for their thirty food partners, like local soup kitchens.
House of Hope is also working on a third greenhouse to grow berries and other fresh fruits.