Committed to a brighter future for children, neighbors and communities.

We consider a healthy neighborhood to be one that is safe, clean, and diverse; one in which it makes economic sense for people to invest and one where neighbors manage change successfully.

We consider a healthy neighborhood to be one that is safe, clean, and diverse; one in which it makes economic sense for people to invest and one where neighbors manage change successfully.

Cooking Class


Residents of the Brook Oaks Neighborhood have been doing some culinary exploration with local chefs these past few weeks. They are learning new ways to use foods they may have come in contact within their own gardens, at the Waco Family Medicine community garden space, at Mission Waco’s Urban Reap, and at the neighborhood grocery stores located in the Brook Oaks neighborhood.

Our theme throughout the class has been “Did you know what you can do with that ingredient?” Dolmas, drying herbs, and pineapple skin tea are just a few of the topics of the cooking classes we have taken part in. Later this month we will learn how to cook with squash and how to make Nopales breakfast tacos!

The first class featured grape leaves found in the Community Garden at Waco Family Medicine. Ignoring the grapes themselves, we instead picked the grapes’ leaves to make dolmas a Mediterranean dish that includes rolling rice, ground beef, spices, and mixture of herbs into grape leaves. After picking grape leaves (we used a few fresh ones but also had some that were purchased from the grocery store), we also picked dill, mint and parsley from the garden to use in the dish.

In our next class, we learned how to dry herbs, which is a lot easier than you think if you have paper bags handy. We used herbs gathered from the Waco Family Medicine community garden space and Urban Reap; some that were familiar and some that were not. We bundled herbs together, put a slit in the bottom of the paper bag, and slid the stems of our herbs through the slit to take home to hang.

After that, we learned how to make a tea using pineapple skins as our key ingredient. Boiling the skin along with cinnamon cloves and ginger results in a delightful tea that can help with inflammation and digestive issues. We even planted the top of the pineapple to see if we could grow our own pineapple plant (it takes about 18 months to 2 years)! It has been a blast learning all these new skills. Thanks to our chef’s April Strickland, Chisa Brigham, Linda Weaver, Kay Bell, and Kyle McElroy for sharing their cooking knowledge with us and Emily Hills at Urban Reap for hosting many of our classes!

— DeShauna Hollie


Share This Story:
Grassroots Community Development
Grassroots Community Development2 days ago
Are you a homeowner in the City of Waco and have some leaks in your roof? Well, Grassroots may be able to help. We are in Phase VIII of the Grassroots Community Development Roof Repair Program for City of Waco Residents. These services are supported through a grant from the City of Waco. This program is at no cost to low-income families who meet the application qualifications. The Open Enrollment and Application process deadline is November 2nd. So fill out your form NOW.
Please click on the link below to print our application or stop by Grassroots office to pick up an application. Our office address is: 1624 Colcord Ave, Monday- Friday 8-5pm
For more information, please call Project Manager Brian at 254-235-7358 ext 210.
Roof Repair Application:
We also want families to be aware of the dangers of lead-based paint. Please read the following handout about the issues with lead-based paint in your home. Check out this link for more detailed information.
Grassroots Community Development
Grassroots Community Development5 days ago
Grassroots is proud to introduce you to the new members of our board:
Crystal Diaz Espinoza is the Director of Enrollment, Career & Alumni Services at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. She has a master’s degree in Higher Education & Student Affairs from Baylor University and a PhD in Higher Education Administration from the University of Tennessee. She comes to Grassroots with 12 years of experience working in areas of enrollment management, leadership and professional development, and diversity, equity & inclusion. Crystal also serves as a race equity consultant for Waco Foundation which helps to bring together community leaders to engage in race equity efforts within their organizations and the greater Waco community. More importantly, she is married to a native Wacoan and is the mother to a beautiful 2-year-old. In her spare time, Crystal is a BIG sports fan and of course loves to cheer on and support all Baylor Bears sports. She and her family also enjoy going to the Waco Farmers Market every weekend and supporting the continued growing number of local businesses as much as possible.
Jud Griffis is a 4th generation Waco resident. He was born at the old Hillcrest hospital and graduated high school from Reicher. Jud received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Baylor. His father has also served on the Grassroots board. He has been a full time real estate investor for over 20 years. Jud is married and he and his wife have 2 daughters and a son. His experience and expertise is in financial analysis and general business acumen. He has served on and chaired many boards; Compassion Ministries Board, Waco Building Standards Commission, Waco Historical Preservation Commission, and was the Waco Montessori School Treasurer. When Jud is not analyzing numbers or researching investments, he enjoys mountain biking in Cameron Park with his son and horseback riding with his daughters.
Grassroots is delighted to have Crystal and Jud become members of the board and look forward to working with them.
Grassroots Community Development
Grassroots Community Development6 days ago
On September 3rd, we were honored to be highlighted as one of the TFNB Banks Charity Champions at the Baylor football game! Read more about the experience here,