About Gardopia Gardens

Gardopia Gardens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency based in the Near East of San Antonio, founded in May 2015. 

Effective interventions are needed to address the growing epidemic of obesity related diseases and environmental issues. Over the next 5 years, Gardopia Gardens aims to reduce obesity and malnutrition by increasing accessibility to fresh produce and implementing strategic intervention programming in schools, businesses, and community organizations.

Gardopia Gardens provides programs and services to educational, commercial, and residential communities, providing tools, materials, and best practices to ensure their sustainability.

Organic Vegetables

MISSION

Growing healthy communities through garden-based learning. 

VISION

A sustainable society, empowered and educated to lead healthy lifestyles through gardening.

CORE VALUES

Education. Health. Environment.

Bowl of Fruits
 
 
 

The Giving wellness campaign

On behalf of Gardopia Gardens, we invite you to join our Giving Wellness Campaign.

   

Our grassroots efforts transformed the once Vacant Lot on 619 N. New Braunfels into the vibrant Community Garden which serves as a communal gathering space for youth, families, and individuals. As we near the end of our 3rd year in operation, we have expanded to another vacant lot, beginning the process of a community food forest!

By becoming a member of Gardopia Gardens, you will help us expand our mission of bringing health and wellness to San Antonio and beyond. Listed below are some of our programs / projects:

  • 619 N. New Braunfels Community Garden

  • 1418 Hays Community Orchard

  • Community Garden Talks

  • Garden-Based Learning

  • Lunch & Learns

 

We're asking for your donation of $5 - $100 /month to help us grow and maintain our garden-based wellness programming.

Your tax-deductible donation to the Giving Wellness Campaign will directly impact the education, health, and environment for thousands of youth and adults in Central Texas!

-Stephen Lucke, CEO / Founder

Staff & Board members

Stephen Lucke Gardopia Gardens

Stephen Lucke  |  Chief Executive Officer, MA

Founder and CEO, Stephen Lucke holds a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from the University of the Incarnate Word and a Masters of Arts in Nutrition from the University of the Incarnate Word.

During his undergraduate years, he became enamored with health and wellness, first starting a student & employee wellness program, and then a community garden on campus. It wasn't long before Stephen started Gardopia to address obesity and climate change a few years later.

Stephen is a native San Antonian who also enjoys spending time in civic engagement and physical fitness. He has manifested these other passions by becoming a certified strength and conditioning specialist in 2015 and running for Mayor of San Antonio in 2017.

Stephen earned his Organic Farmer Certification in the Spring of 2019 and is currently a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar. Stephen looks forward to continued growth with Gardopia in our 5th year of operations.

Dominic Dominguez  |  Chief Operating Officer, MA, LEED Green Associate

Born in San Antonio, Dominic Dominguez holds a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science & Policy with a Specialization in Biology from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. He also holds a Masters in Sustainability & Development from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Dominic is a Certified Master Gardener & Master Wellness through Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County. He is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative University Alumni, where his research focused on the circumvention of non-communicable diseases through garden-based learning.

As a LEED practitioner and sustainability professional, Dominic’s interests consider spatial design, urban planning, applied research, GIS analysis, 3D modeling, triple-net-zero/regenerative infrastructure initiatives, and equity expansion.

In his spare time, he enjoys gardening, fidgeting with his tech, and being with his loved ones.

Board Of Directors - Executive Committee

Andres Narvaez, Chair - Stonegate Pharmacy

Michelle Duenas, Vice-Chair - San Antonio Food Bank

Angelica Gonzales, MBA, Secretary - USAA

 

Board Of Directors

Amos Lozano - Famous Juice Co. / Emjayze Hemp

Boh Ireland - Shelectricity

David Nungaray, MA - San Antonio Independent School District (Bonham Academy)

Deandra Mahone - Loma De Vida Spa & Wellness

Defranco Sarabia - Texas A&M University at San Antonio (Student)

Jeffrey Grimes, MBA, CFP - Envoy Financial

Johari Burnette, JD - The Burnette Firm

Joseph Neiro, MPA - Clausewitz Law Firm

Megan Lowder - University of Texas at San Antonio (Student)

 
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HEALTH & NUTRITION

  • Plant Based Diets

    • Eating more plant-based foods can significantly decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. You don't have to become 100% vegan or vegetarian to adopt this lifestyle. Some easy ways to integrate a plant based diet is by eating meat only one time per day, practicing "Meatless Mondays", and replacing recipes with meat with mushrooms, which have a similar and taste texture to animal protein.

    • Benefits

      • Decrease anxiety & tension

      • Decreased risk for cardiovascular diseased

      • Decreased risk for diabetes and obesity

      • Increase in a positive mood

      • Increase in energy

      • Decrease in anger and hostility

      • Increase in antioxidants

      • Improved digestion

 

  • Hydration

    • Many Americans do not drink enough water on a daily basis. With many alternative liquids, such as soda, juice, and alcohol, it's easy to become dehydrated. Below are some tips on how to stay hydrated, and the benefits of proper hydration!

      • Water helps prevent dry mouth

      • Water promotes a healthy blood composition

      • Water allows for proper perspiration, which keeps the body core temperature at 98 degrees

      • Water helps keep the skin elastic and youthful

      • Water helps prevent muscle cramps

      • Water helps remove toxins from the body

      • The body is ~55% - 75% water

      • Try drinking a glass of water every morning when you wake up, and every evening when you go to sleep

      • Instead of drinking 100% juice, try diluting the juice with 50% water

      • Avoid soda as much as possible

      • A good alternative to sports drinks is coconut water

      • Carrying a reusable water bottle can significantly improve water consumption

 

  • Fruits & Vegetables

    • Increased fruit and vegetable intake has a plethora of health benefits. Below are a few benefits, and ideas to increase your consumption

      • Fruits and vegetables are high in soluble and insoluble fiber, which can increase blood lipid profiles

      • Fruits and vegetables have simple and complex sugars, which can satisfy your sweet tooth, improve digestion, and provide sustained energy

      • Fruits and vegetables lower your carbon footprint, since it takes less water and energy to grow than animal products

      • Fruits and vegetables contain unsaturated fats, which can decrease high cholesterol and hypertension

      • Try to make at least 75% of your diet from fruits and vegetables to see an increase in energy and health

 

 

  • Unsaturated Fats

    • These fats help reduce the risk of high blood cholesterol levels.

    • Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature

    • Great sources of unsaturated fats are nuts, avocados, and fish

 

  • Plant Protein

    • It doesn’t matter which type of diet you follow, the addition of legumes, nuts, and seeds gives you a nutritional advantage.

      • Beans, peas, nuts, seeds, soy, and lentils, are some of nature’s treasures. They are a powerhouse of good nutrition, a good source of plant protein, loaded with disease fighting phytonutrients, cholesterol-lowering fiber, and naturally low in cholesterol and sodium.

      • A diet focusing on plant-based protein sources can be beneficial for helping to prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality, explained Harvard professor, Frank Hu, MD, Ph.D., during a recent educational session at the Academy of Nutrition’s annual meeting in Atlanta.

      • Adults need between 46 and 56 grams of protein daily, approximately 10-35 percent of calories.

      • When cutting calories, it is essential to load up on healthy foods. Adding plant protein is a strategy that may help to get weight loss results.

      • Plant proteins are digested slowly which keeps you satisfied longer so you can cut calories.