Talk of the Bay host Len Beyea interviews staff of the Homeless Garden Project about the work of HGP, and shares the touching testimonials of two current trainees.
In May of 1990, the Citizens Committee for the Homeless, a Santa Cruz County nonprofit, began a new project by opening the gates of an organic garden on Pelton Avenue. Ultimately incorporated as an independent non-profit, the Homeless Garden Project provides job training and meaningful work in a therapeutic environment. The Homeless Garden Project began as a place to provide sanctuary, refuge, and meaningful work within the healing space of the organic farm. Blossoming over time and furthering the project’s benefits, the farm harvests have provided an opportunity to support the vision of a thriving and inclusive community, workforce and local food system, through their CSA program, farm stand, and crafts, which are sold at their local Santa Cruz stores and on-line.
Darrie Ganzhorn has worked with Homeless Garden Project since 1991 and has served as Executive Director since 2008. Under Darrie’s leadership, the Project has developed the transitional employment program and its goals, grown revenue four-fold, and has successfully completed a $3.5 million capital campaign. Darrie has primary responsibility for vision and planning, fundraising, program direction, financial management, public relations and staff support of the Project’s Board of Directors.
Claude Rosen, Director of Operations, brings a decade of experience in operations and finance roles in the nonprofit sector, including work with organizations in the sustainable food, workforce development, and homelessness sectors. Prior to joining the Homeless Garden Project, Claude was with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, where he supported nonprofits experiencing growth in both capital project and business planning.
Ella Fleming grew up in Rhode Island, and studied agroecology at UCSC. As Farm Manager for HGP, Ella plans, coordinates and directs all farm production.
Testimonials of two trainees, Elise and Patricia, are included in the program.