As of April 2020, our Donate-A-Box program has raised over $40,500 for non-profit organizations in Central Texas to fund a variety of projects and initiatives – ranging from donating food to families and healthcare workers impacted by COVID-19 to providing funds to allow for youth on-the-job training and career development. Our Farmhouse Family is nothing short of amazing and we thank you so much for your donations to help support these essential Central Texas programs.
We’re excited to announce that for the month of July, your donations will be going to Sweetwater Farms HTX in Houston, Texas! Sweetwater Farms HTX is a 6 acre family-owned organic urban farm located 7 minutes inside the loop in Houston and right in the middle of a food desert.
We sat down with Farmer Chaz of Sweetwater Farms HTX to talk more about his farm, how the Donate-A-Box program is going to help their growth efforts, and what the future holds for their farm and programs.
Hey Chaz! Can you tell us a little about yourself, your background, and how Sweetwater Farms HTX came to be?
My name is Chaz Daughtry and I am the founder of Sweetwater Farms HTX & Soulfitgrill. I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2012, where I studied economics and agriculture. I always had a passion for agriculture and I wanted to pass down the knowledge that I learned over the years to youth! In 2014, my family created the TWEF URBAN Garden with our non profit (TWEF), the urban garden sits on our 6 acres of land in Houston, Texas. With our garden we teach kids about STEM and agriculture. Most of the kids that are a part of our agriculture programs have never thought about going into the field of agriculture, so we make it our mission to expose them to the many fields of AG such as: ag tech, ag science and ag nutrition, as well as feed families living in the food desert located near our farm. In 2018, we wanted to reach more people and that is when Sweetwater Farms HTX came to creation. We started growing more seasonal veggies and then we created a program that lets our youth sell to local restaurants and at farmers markets.
We’re so excited to have you as our partner for our July Donate-A-Box campaign, can you tell us a little about how these donations will help Sweetwater Farms HTX?
The donations will help us buy the necessary tools we need to keep our urban farm running! We are a small farm and short on staff, especially with COVID-19. Currently, we only have 3 kids working with us this summer. Our goal is to be able to afford a small tractor, growing tunnel and more farm tools. With this equipment we will be able to grow more vegetables to keep up with our growing demand, expand on our land without having to rent machines, and grow some veggies year round. We will also be able to replace the equipment that was stolen from our shipping containers this Easter 2020, such as our tillers and lawn mowers.
With COVID-19 hitting Texas hard, how do you hope people’s overall food consumption and habits will adapt?
COVID-19 has changed people’s food habits tremendously! We have seen an increase in customers on our farm! I believe it’s because the grocery stores have limited products and have long lines and tons of people, so people would rather have their veggies shipped to their house or buy locally from a farmer. I also believe buying locally gives customers piece of mind knowing their veggies have had minimum contact.
How does eating sustainably and supporting local impact and benefit farmers like you in the long run?
Eating sustainably makes a huge impact on local farmers like myself. It will allow us to feed more people and create a healthy generation!
What can we hope to see in the future from Sweetwater Farms HTX? Any exciting news coming up?
You will see us being one of the leaders in agriculture! Our goal is not to be the biggest farm in the U.S, but instead to be one of the most impactful teachers of agriculture. We strive to teach people about the importance of agriculture. Hopefully, you will see us expanding on more of our land soon, so we may grow enough veggies to have a farmstand twice a week!