Planting the Seed
Like Johnny Appleseed spreading the seeds of bounty to places near and far, the successful Growing Grounds Farm in San Luis Obispo planted the seed for our Growing Works nursery in Camarillo.
Their successful model of job training and horticultural therapy for people with mental illness is based on decades of experience. We are so appreciative of how generously they’ve shared their knowledge with us, we thought it most appropriate that our first large purchase of plants for our Growing Works nursery should come from their nursery!
Providing an Environment for Growth
With these initial plants (giant coreopsis, ceanothus, salvias, buckwheat, lavender, etc.), our program has begun! Its popularity is already evident in the dozens of clients of the County’s Behavioral Health Department who signed up for the program in these first two weeks. For many, this is the first chance in years to do productive work. Their participation and pride in the outcome of the nursery has added more positive energy to the project.
Turning Point Foundation, the non-profit overseeing the Growing Works program has Mark Schumacher directing the program. He has selected team leaders who are peer coaches for the employees. Along with our nursery developer extraordinaire Dennis Perry, who has dedicated all of his spare hours volunteering to get Growing Works up and going, we have amassed an incredible leadership team! The result is a work environment where employees can gain skills that will not only help them be successful in the workforce, but in other facets of their life too.
Water, Good Soil and Sunshine
Still in its infancy, the nursery continues to need lots of loving care, now and into the future. To make it environmentally sustainable we’ll use recycled water, though it requires significant investment in setting up a reverse osmosis filtering system.
Agromin, a major regional greenwaste recycling company, donated its premium soil so we can grow healthy plants.
We also have dreams for solar panels, and a rainwater-capture system that will make Growing Works a truly “green” nursery.
Tending the Garden
We’re adding two acres of Demonstration Gardens for the nursery employees to tend too, which will further their job skills. We’ll use cuttings from the Gardens to supplement the nursery stock, and landscapers will see in the Gardens how big the nursery plants grow. The Gardens will also include a 70’-wide labyrinth with paths lined with rocks and plants for our neighbors at the homeless shelter (RAIN Project), foster youth home (Casa Pacifica) and for the public to enjoy.
Growing Works could not happen without your donations. You can click here to schedule a tour, order plants, volunteer, donate, or contribute to Growing Works. You can also check out the Growing Works Wish List that includes everything from rakes and pruning shears, to a pick-up truck! There are also sponsorship opportunities to help us reach our dreams. Perhaps never before have you been asked for seed money… that will actually go to seeds!
Look to upcoming emails about our community planting day, ribbon cutting, and once planted, our Garden Party!
“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”
— Alfred Austin