Farm To Fork Across America: Help plant a "Mother Orchard" with the strongest, drought and pest resistant wild trees and vines found in California
Farmer Wendy Baroli & Chef Mark Estee Bridge The Sustainable Meat Gap In Reno
Chef de Cuisine Dante Cecchini, Wanderlust in a Pop-up Kitchen
Chef Seth Caswell, Technology and Healthy Food for Emotional Well Being, Google and Adobe Style
Chef Tom Douglas, "Deliciousness Served With Graciousness" in Seattle
Chef Stephan Pyles... Limitless in Texas
Kanaloa Seafood: Netting the Spirit of Environmentally Responsible Fishing
FoodShed Exchange Celebrates With Great Farmers, Friends & Family
Restrauteur and Farmer Pete Eshelman: Hunger for Humanely Raised Beef With a Nutritional Twist
Chef Natalie Sellers: Artisan Parmesan, Vertical Tasting, and Food Culture in Reno
Fisher Heidi Dunlap: Wild Alaskan Salmon Running for Their Lives
Chefs Collaborative Upgrading the Quality of Our Food Supply
Amigo Bob... Influencing the Neyers Vineyard of Napa Valley
A Kinfolk Honey Gathering... Supporting Our Homeland Security
Quality U.S. Grown Food IS Our Homeland Security
Composting the Biggest Rib Cookoff in America
Visuals Only Because Most Haven't Been (PHOTOS)
Farming Beyond Me... Fighting the Tide in a Sea of Wheat
"An Apple a Day..." or Hundreds of Thousands From Tree Top
Bluebird Grain Farm: East of the Cascades in a Sea of Emmer
Sea-Crop Soup, From Sea To Shining Sea
Chef Jerry Traunfeld, Soulful in Seattle
Horse Power on Betsey's Farm, Bainbridge Island, WA
Nature, An Instrument of Restoration
Homeless Garden Project: A Safe Place To Go
GirlFarm, A Field Of Dreams
Craft Bartender Naomi Schimek: Foraging in L.A. With Time To Spare
Mad Chef Jimmy Schmidt
In The Body Of Bread, The Holiness Factor Revealed
Legacy For The Essential Farm Fashionista
All photography © Julie Ann Fineman, unless otherwise noted.
Want to know more about HGP’s program model? Here are some answers to questions
that might help individuals and community representatives to start a similar project in their community.
History, mission, and philosophy
The Homeless Garden Project began in May of 1990 as a sanctuary and place of refuge for people who are homeless as well as a project to provide meaningful work. HGP works to address root causes of homelessness in all of our programs. On a daily basis, we strive to fulfill these goals:
• Build Self-esteem and self-sufficiency for our trainees:
In our Job Training and Transitional Employment program, trainees build and practice employment and technical skills, business and entrepreneurial skills, not only through the farm program, but also through the Women's Organic Flower Enterprise. Open to both men and women, trainees who participate in WOFE during the winter months produce and market value-added products sold at our store. During the 2011 holiday season, receipts for these products totaled nearly $60,000. In our Connecting with Community program, staff members work with trainees to help them progress towards personal and work goals; and provide assistance with housing, health, legal and educational needs.
• Improve the health of our community through access to nutritious, organic fruits and vegetables:
We commit ourselves to the goal of environmental justice by striving to provide access to nutritionally dense, organic food to all members of our community. Through our CSA program, families directly purchase weekly shares of each season's produce. With our U-Pick farm stand, any member of the community can visit the farm any day of the week, harvest what they need and pay for it on site. Through our CSA scholarship program, we provide low-income individuals access to our organic produce free of cost. In addition, we provide community members information on ways to prepare the produce they receive, from recipes in weekly CSA newsletters to cooking demonstrations on the farm for a variety of events and audiences.
• Serve as an educational resource for the entire community
Our Cultivating Community program, which blends formal, experiential and service learning, is open to anyone interested in learning about sustainable horticulture, social justice and nutrition. Individuals or groups may attend free lectures, participate in volunteer workdays and tours or take part in hands-on training. In 2011 alone, nearly 1,200 volunteers participated in this program.
• Break down social barriers and build community bridges
Our Cultivating Community program brings trainees and other members of the community into close contact on a daily basis. Visitors may include horticultural professionals, university interns, high school students, families with children and retirees. All attend lectures and classes together. They work and encourage the earth together. They prepare and eat a daily meal together. Through this program, stereotypes of homeless people are reduced, members of the community may recognize the social capital which trainees represent, and trainees can take advantage of opportunities to build their self-confidence and create a positive social support network. As one volunteer puts it, “I have learned to love and care for people I never would have looked at twice.”￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
In the soil of our urban farm and garden, people find the tools they need to build a home in the world.
We envision a thriving and inclusive community, workforce, and local food system. We Value:
HGP emphasizes a strength-based approach, solidarity, and self-determination of the individual. We ask trainees to identify and set goals for themselves that will increase their stability in ways meaningful to them. Relationships with other trainees and with community volunteers, therapeutic horticulture, healthy physical activity and nutritious food, a paycheck, and meaningful work all contribute to healing, growth in self-confidence and self-esteem in our trainees. Our social work program utilizes a Positive Psychology framework that emphasizes the value of Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments.
Major grantors and partners
Please email us with your questions about our funders.
We partner informally with
Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UCSC
Laurel Street (a day program for people with Developmental Disabilities)
Bay School (a nonprofit providing education and treatment for children living with autism) The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County
University of California, Santa Cruz intern programs; in particular Environmental Studies and Community Studies
Global Information Internship Program, UCSC
School of Social Work, San Jose State University
Homeless Services Center
Community Connections Career Services
Homeless Persons Health Project
2. What services do you offer? Please include: Employment services
We provide job training and transitional employment to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The training and transitional employment positions are 20 hours/week and are paid minimum wage; trainees can stay in the program up to two years. The number of positions we offer is related to our budget and staffing and has hovered around 15 in recent years.
The training consists of on-the-job training as well as a weekly lecture series. Lectures consist of horticultural topics as well as basic life skill topics. In 2010, we provided a 5 week workshop on job search, resume writing and interview skills, as well as a two-week computer training in association with Global information Internship Program (GIIP).
Homeless Garden Project doesn’t directly provide housing services. Our social work interns refer and advocate for trainees to establish housing in appropriate local housing solutions.
We provide referral, coaching and crisis intervention for our trainees.
In our Connecting with Community program, we partner with Social Work Interns from San Jose State University School of Social Work. These interns work one-on-one with trainees to promote trainees' full participation in our job training and transitional employment programs by addressing needs such as health care, legal issues, transportation and shelter. Through regular meetings, trainees identify goals that will create and sustain their own well-being. Our interns monitor trainee progress toward goals and support meaningful engagement in accomplishing goals. In addition, our social work interns foster trainee progress toward unsubsidized employment as a key long-term goal related to a career plan.
3. Who do you serve? Please include: Quarterly and yearly counts
In recent years, about 20 people fill 15 job training positions. The longer we’ve been in operation, the less turnover we’ve had.
In addition, we have openings for about 30 people in our Century Certificate program. This is a new program as of 2012 that provides skills training, a structured work environment, the satisfaction of achieving tangible goals as part of a team, therapeutic horticulture, a positive and supportive community, opportunities for healthy outdoor physical activity, and a healthy shared lunch, featuring vegetables grown at our 3 acre organic farm. Participants in this program volunteer for 100 hours and attend at least 4 job training lectures during a 4-month window.
￼￼HGP's programs target people who are homeless. We work with a diverse population that is homeless (or at risk of homelessness). Teamwork at the farm benefits from a diverse set of abilities, backgrounds, ages and histories.
Available statistics on age, race, gender, gender identity, disability, mental illness, veteran’s status, and former incarceration
Our crew is generally about 50% male, 50% female; in 2010 it was 40% male, 60% female. Ethnicity 2010: 70% White, 5% Latino, 20% Black, 5% Native American
Age: 25-60 (we have worked with younger people as well)
Nearly 43% of our trainees were either in recovery or struggling with substances.
43% have a mental health diagnosis, 14% have a mental health diagnosis and are either in recovery or struggling with substances (already included in the above statistics.)
It is very difficult to get mental health services in our county. That, coupled with stigma associated with mental illness creates a situation where we suspect that many people on our crew could benefit from mental health services, but we cannot say that they have a diagnosis. An additional group has been impacted by trauma.
9% of our trainees are veterans.
About one quarter of our trainees have spent time in jail.
4. What major barriers to housing and employment do your clients face? Please include: Barriers specific to the local housing and labor markets
Santa Cruz County has very high housing costs, competitive rentals due to our local university; Median gross rent in 2009: $1,287. (Our trainees earn up to $160/week gross)
Jan. 2011 cost of living index in Santa Cruz: 154.8 (very high, U.S. average is 100) Unemployment in March 2011: 13.1%; most job growth in high tech, health care and education
Barriers specific to populations and policies
No phone number, no mailing address, difficulty accessing showers, difficulty presenting appropriate and clean clothing, no recent work history, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, not enough stability to hold down 40 hour/week job, too much time spent meeting basic needs—does not allow for time needed for looking and working job; limited and/or time consuming transportation; socially isolated; poverty; lack of affordable housing.
Barriers specific to individual life and job histories
Our experience with our trainees reminds us daily that it is difficult to generalize “barriers” and more effective to emphasize strengths; with that precaution, some needs and barriers that trainees and participants have faced over the years :
5. What are your eligibility requirements? Please include: Entry requirements, conditions, obligations, and sanctions
To be eligible for employment and training at the Homeless Garden Project’s Natural Bridges Farm Program or the Women’s Organic Flower Enterprise, candidates must fit within certain economic parameters, and indicate a willingness to abide by a number of simple but important rules of conduct. Eligible candidates will:
To determine eligibility, an interview will be scheduled with the candidate and HGP Farm staff. The interviews cover many areas of the candidate’s work life, educational background, military experience, and lifestyle issues that may need to be addressed during the course of his/her employment and training program.
If, after the interview, the candidate is determined to be eligible, the candidate will participate in a two-week interview period of part-time work, giving the candidate and the staff the opportunity to see if this is a good job-training match. If both parties agree, the candidate is hired with a one- month introductory period.
In order to remain as a trainee in our program, a trainee must demonstrate a willingness to set and make progress towards mutually acceptable goals in their personal life as well as in the training program. If, after repeated opportunities and support by Project staff, a trainee does not demonstrate progress in both life goals and training goals, the Project will give the trainee two weeks’ notice of severance and will open the space to other candidates.
We also have a rules document.
6. What are your program goals and what are your successes?
We measure success in three ways:
Are trainees better off? Are their living conditions more stable? MATRIX FORM: This form asks trainees about their current situation (regarding housing, income, mobility, education, etc.). It includes questions, a space for written answers, and a scale that measures change. A matrix form will be filled out by HGP Director for each trainee in April and November.
Are trainees meeting the goals they set? GOALS FORMS: These forms ask trainees about their life goals and their experience with the HGP program. These forms will be filled out by trainees in April and November. Goals form #1 also includes several basic demographic questions. Goals form #2 also asks for some evaluative feedback about trainee’s experience at HGP.
Are trainees learning skills? SKILLS FORM: The skills form assesses trainees understanding and mastery of many job skills (including general job skills and gardening and retail skills). One skills form will be filled out by the farm and value-added enterprise staff for each trainee in June and October.
We are also adding a long-term impact assessment, conducted by an outside agency, which will track trainees at each year from 1-10 years after they leave HGP to see their life circumstances and how they assess HGP’s impact on their life.
We track number of volunteers and volunteer hours worked and individual project goals as well. In 2012, we are surveying volunteers to better understand how their experience at HGP impacts volunteers.
Strengths and challenges
HGP was started to provide sanctuary and meaningful work. At times, there is a tension between production and training, business and healing. At times, there is a synergy. Meaningful work and the garden, along with repetition and routine provide opportunities for healing. The stress of deadlines and efficiencies can be opportunities for building work skills such as planning and managing time, solving problems, learning from feedback or can cause setbacks in healing and recovery.
While we have become more skilled and focused at hiring trainees into the program more likely to succeed and ready to benefit from our program, we are aware of the incredible need in our community. We are reluctant to narrow our services to a very small “high-functioning” percentage of the homeless population. This is why we developed the Century Certificate program.
Challenges and goals:
We’d like to work with funders and practitioners in similar programs to educate funders about the value and importance of Transitional Jobs as a strategy for addressing homelessness. (Transitional Jobs is a workforce strategy designed to overcome employment obstacles by using time-limited, wage-paying jobs that combine real work, skill development and supportive services to transition participants successfully into the job market.)
￼We would like to develop our strategy and program for job placement, follow-up and support of trainees transitioning into unsubsidized employment.
We are interested in developing more partnerships and deepening existing partnerships.
As of 2012, our board is creating a plan to fulfill our recently updated mission. While expanding and improving our programs at Natural Bridges Farm, we are working with the City of Santa Cruz to realize our goal of a permanent 12-acre home at Pogonip, in the heart of the City's greenbelt.
For more information, contact: Darrie Ganzhorn
Homeless Garden Project 831.426.3609.2# email@example.com
Are you thinking about starting a project similar to the Homeless Garden Project?
Over the years, many individuals and community representatives have approached the Homeless Garden Project to learn about what we do so they can start a similar program in their home community.
We’re happy to help!
Here are a few ways we can help:
Check out our website: www.homelessgardenproject.org for information regarding our programs, mission and history
Visit our farm and watch our programs in action: this is the single most valuable step you can take. Some organizations have coupled a visit to the farm with meeting staff afterwards to answer their specific question.
Email us your questions, after you’ve done some research and clarified what you want to accomplish in your community.
If you’re interested in providing transitional employment, check out the National Transitional Jobs Network’s site http://www.heartlandalliance.org/ntjn/, especially their excellent best practices series. http://www.heartlandalliance.org/ntjn/program-resources/best- practices.html
We believe it’s important to adapt our program to your specific community. Many of the organizations that have contacted us about starting a project in their community have developed very different models such as:
Growing Home in San Francisco http://growinghomecommunitygarden.blogspot.com/p/diy.html and
Dig Deep Farms in Alameda Countyhttp://www.digdeepcsa.com/
In addition to many of the documents that you can find on our website (such as volunteer applications, newsletters and annual reports), there are some specific documents you can request from us:
Contents © Copyright 2010-2014 Julie Ann Fineman (aka Julie Brothers). All rights reserved.