CEO & Founder, Gardopia Gardens
A healthier community, a healthier planet.
By Taylor Lane
Photography by Nina A. Padilla
Travel down N New Braunfels on the East side of San Antonio, and you might catch Stephen Lucke working in the urban micro-farm and home of his education-based nonprofit, Gardopia Gardens.
Lucke became enamored with health and wellness during his undergraduate years. He started a student & employee wellness program and community garden on campus, and received his Organic Farmer Certification from Palo Alto College. After securing both a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Masters of Arts in Nutrition from the University of the Incarnate Word, he set out to further address the obesity epidemic and climate crisis facing our community. In 2015, Gardopia Gardens was born.
“Our core values are education, health, and the environment,” says Lucke as he prepares for a Community Garden Workday, fostering a sense of community wellness through the practice of horticulture & organic gardening. Gardopia Gardens offers programs and resources dedicated to educating the community on the impact sustainable nutrition has on the environment and educating individuals on how to grow their own food. Self-awareness coupled with essential tools for wellness empowers program participants to make healthy choices. The Garden-Based Learning Curriculum has a strong emphasis on reducing obesity and malnutrition. This program is available to youth classes, public and private workshops, and adult courses.
“I hope that we can have a more educated population, a healthier population, and a more sustainable society.”
When we see the statistics around obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease here in San Antonio and the population it impacts the most, Lucke knows that Gardopia Gardens can make an impact. One way we can help address that issue is by growing food- fresh organic produce to feed the people and the planet.
Gardopia Gardens has a network of partner gardens in schools, community centers, churches, and more. These serve as learning classrooms throughout the year, focusing on educating the community on sustainable gardening.
To support this mission, you can volunteer Thursdays from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm and Saturdays 9:00 am – 11:00 am. You can also help at any of their partner gardens throughout the community- educating individuals and maintaining these spaces.
Check out Gardopia Gardens 619 N New Braunfels Ave., or visit www.gardopiagardens.org to learn more.
The goal is to increase self-sufficiency by empowering individuals to partake in growing their food. Individuals are encouraged to Adopt-A-Plot at Gardopia Gardens or build gardens in their own homes.
“Whether it’s your time, sweat equity, or actual dollars, everything helps us continue to amplify our mission so that we can make San Antonio a healthier and more sustainable city to live in.”
The very first Garden Awards Gala hosted by Gardopia Gardens will be held on August 11th, 2021, highlighting all the great gardening and urban agriculture organizations here in San Antonio.
619 N. New Braunfels
San Antonio, TX 78202