What We Do
Since 2011, GrowGood has been working with the Salvation Army to develop a garden-based program for the residents of the Bell Shelter that uses healthy food and gardening as a catalyst for healing.
We provide the Salvation Army’s Bell Homeless Shelter residents with
Food: Growing farm fresh fruits and vegetables
The heart of the GrowGood is its 1.5 acre farm. Located across the street from the Bell Shelter, the farm is a source of produce - as fresh as it gets - for the people who live at the shelter. In 2017, we harvested more than 8,100 pounds of food for the kitchen with an estimated market value of over $20,000. We use no chemical additives on our no-till farm. Every year we strive to grow more food for the Shelter, and we have. In 2018, we hope to reach 10,000 lbs. Our increased output is the result of hard work from our farm manager, the superlative Katie Lewis, commercial manager, Ryley Schlachter, farmhands Mary, Velva, Albert, Charlie, interns, years of soil rehabilitation paying off, and systematizing our growing and harvesting calendar.
The farm currently consists of a an orchard of 71 fruit trees, 14 raised vegetable garden beds, a 1/2 acre area of in-round row crops, a 30' x 48' commercial greenhouse, and a California native plant garden filled with over 300 flowering, drought-tolerant plants. GrowGood’s vegetable growing areas and trees are all connected to a state-of-the-art Netafim drip irrigation system.
The farm serves more purposes than just serving food. The farm is also a place for shelter clients to work and to find a peaceful respite. For the larger community, it is a place to connect to the land, learn how food is grown, and learn how compost is created and used.
"My enlightenment level is elevated spiritually
when I am at the farm. It's almost like going to the ocean, and you got a ton of problems, and you look out at the ocean and they all melt away."
-GrowGood farmhand Charlie
therapy FOR shelter residents
Connecting with nature.
"Now I don't ruminate, I meditate."
Food for Life Skills twice-weekly groups are held in GrowGoods’ California native plant sensory garden and designed to cultivate healthy living habits that support physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Our clients, many of them veterans, come to us through The Salvation Army Bell Shelter Wellness Program, a residential treatment center for addiction recovery and various mental health conditions, including PTSD. Both yoga and meditation, as well as spending time in nature have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, promote better sleep, improve mental clarity and lower one's risk of depression.
Jayne Torres and Millie Huer lead the sessions. Both are trained and certified by The Veterans Yoga Project to teach Mindful Resilience Meditation and Yoga, a program designed specifically to help mitigate the symptoms of PTSD. Jayne, the Program Cultivator at GrowGood, is also an LA County Master Gardener and co-founder of the DTLA Ur-Bin Garden Network. Millie is a certified yoga teacher and co-founder of First Nature Yoga, which teaches nature-based yoga.
"I come out here feeling like a bouncing ball...all over the place.
like a floating balloon...at peace."
The classes are held in GrowGood’s beautiful, California native garden. The space designed by landscaper Elliot Richman is filled with over 300 flowering, draught tolerant plants. Most of the species represented in our native garden are part of the Coastal Sage Scrub plant community that covered much of the Los Angeles basin before it was cleared for development. The plants have evolved over thousands of years to thrive here without supplemental water, fertilizers, or pesticides.
job opportunities: helpING shelter
residents regain their independence
Transitional Employment program
The Transitional Employment Program (TEP) is GrowGood’s job training program. The premise is that the best way to teach how to be employed is to employ.
This competitive program employs an average of 5 shelter clients every three months providing foundational job skills that can be applied to a variety of career pathways. These paid positions include hands-on farming jobs on the GrowGood Farm, providing the tools and training to help shelter residents regain their independence.
I thank GrowGood for helping me grow. If you every have the opportunity to work for GrowGood, take it - it's a great experience and you'll grow too.