Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project offers organic CSA subscriptions

Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project (HGP) is currently selling subscriptions to its organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which runs from May-October. I have been a CSA member in the past; subscribers receive a fabulous weekly bounty while supporting a very worthwhile cause.

Customers can choose from 3 CSA options for five months of wonderful, fresh produce including a variety of organic vegetables plus sweet, tasty strawberries and beautiful flowers. Selections are:

  • “Pick-up” ($650; this share feeds approximately 4 adults and is harvested by the trainees and volunteers and picked up every Friday)
  • “U-Pick” ($500; this also feeds about 4 adults and YOU do the harvesting on Friday or Saturday)
  • “Half-share U-Pick” ($300)

For more information or to sign up, call 831.423.1020 or go to www.homelessgardenproject.org. At the site you can also find out about donating to the CSA Scholarship Fund, which helps low-income individuals and currently sponsors food and flower donations to organizations such as Santa Cruz AIDS Project and Women’s Crisis Support.

From May 27-October 28, CSA members will make weekly visits to HGP’s farm at Natural Bridges and either pick up the already-harvested items or do the harvesting themselves. In the past, if CSA members did the “pick-up” option, they would go to HGP’s office/gift shop at Depot Park. Moving the location to the farm gives members a chance to connect to the land where their food is grown; even if they don’t choose to do their own picking, they see where the flowers and produce come from. As the great author and farmer Wendell Berry wrote, “For good farming to last, it must occur in a good farming community, that is, a neighborhood of people who know each other, who understand their mutual dependencies, and who place a proper value on good farming.”

Founded in 1990, HGP provides job training and transitional employment to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Some of the programs take place in its 2.5-acre organic farm, where trainees plant, grow and harvest. HGP also provides volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice, and operates a year-round gift shop. This boutique sells items like beeswax candles, t-shirts, hand-knitted scarves, dried flower wreaths, sachets, strawberry jam, and herb vinegars (selected products made from herbs, flowers, and fruit grown at the farm).

Store Location/Hours: 30 West Cliff Drive (next to Depot Park), 831-426-3609. Open Tue & Fri 10-5, Mon, Wed, Thurs 10-3.

Read about a free online resource/oral history series for learning about the history of California Central Coast’s organic farming and sustainable agriculture in this article. The series includes interviews with HGP Director of Programs and Operations Darrie Ganzhorn and Garden Director Paul Glowaski.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.