History of the Project
In May of 1990, the Citizens Committee for the Homeless, a Santa Cruz County non-profit, began a new project by opening the gates of an organic garden on Pelton Avenue. The Homeless Garden Project would provide job-training and meaningful work in a therapeutic environment.
The Project began as a place to provide sanctuary, refuge and meaningful work within the healing environment of the organic farm.
|1990||Homeless Garden Project opens first organic garden on Pelton Avenue as a program of Citizens Committee for the Homeless|
|1991||Project begins selling produce to local restaurants and Farmer’s Markets|
|1992||The Homeless Garden Project(HGP) begins and runs first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Santa Cruz county>|
|1994||With the help of Barry Swenson Builder, the Project expanded to include a second garden on a 1.5 acre parcel at Natural Bridges Farm|
|1994||The Women’s Organic Flower Enterprise (WOFE) is established, providing additional work opportunities for homeless women through creating dried flower and herb wreaths from the organic gardens; a WOFE garden is established across the street from HGP's workshop on land loaned by Mike Williams.|
|1998||Project leaves Pelton Avenue garden to make way for sale of city property and housing development and consolidates at Natural Bridges Farm|
|1998||First WOFE holiday store opened|
|2002||Project opens year-round retail store and administrative offices at 30 West Cliff Drive|
|2010||Homeless Garden Project celebrates 20th anniversary|
In 1998, the City of Santa Cruz adopted a Master Plan for a 614-acre open space greenbelt at Pogonip which would include a nine-acre permanent site for the Homeless Garden Project. Necessary management, operation and site plans have begun and once key issues are resolved -- such as determining a source of water -- a capital campaign to fund the gardens and buildings will begin.