The Homeless Garden Project — Santa Cruz

[Homeless people die 30 years younger than the national average… -DS]

The Homeless Garden Project provides job training and transitional employment to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The programs offer trainees an opportunity to rebuild and develop basic life skills and a sense of worth as human beings.

Our Mission:

  • Bring Together people from throughout the community in the beauty and security of our certified organic garden.
  • Practice and Teach principles of economic and ecological sustainability through classes and hands-on experience.
  • Provide homeless men and women job training and transitional employment.

Trainees in the program:

  • Take advantage of transitional employment in the safety of a structured environment
  • Learn basic life skills required for employment
  • Learn a variety of other marketable skills
  • Share four hot meals a week with staff, other trainees and volunteers
  • Give to the community by growing food for other programs that serve homeless and needy populations
  • Grow organic fruit, vegetables and flowers for the SC community through the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program
  • Educate students and other groups who use the garden
  • Create value-added products from farm grown materials which are sold at the Women’s Organic Flower Enterprise Store

Who we serve

The program serves and depends on a community volunteers, interns, customers, and trainees who form strong bonds through the work. This “strengthened” community breaks down the profound sense of isolation experienced by many homeless people. Together, the extended work towards common goals that impact individuals as well as other local agencies and services.

Meet the people who benefit from the Homeless Garden Project …

Why We Do It

Homelessness and joblessness go hand in hand. Lack of job skills, recent work history, social support network and low self esteem all make the transition out of homelessness more difficult. The integrated approach of the Homeless Garden Project’s programs addresses all of these needs. More…


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. More…