view current print edition




Farmers’ West Flowers & Bouquets in Carpinteria, CA, is teaming up for another year with community groups to feed the homeless and teach them cooking skills so they can get jobs at local restaurants and cafes.

FARMERSWESTLeaders and community volunteers, including Cub Scouts, in a vegetable and herb garden where they grew plants to feed homeless residents in the Santa Barbara, CA, area. Other partners in the project are Alyce Hartman Projects, a foundation in Detroit that funds the community garden plots; the Casa Esperanza homeless shelter in Santa Barbara, CA, which feeds the homeless and teaches them how to cook; and community groups like Cub Scout Pack 50 in Carpinteria, which volunteered to help plant and harvest the vegetables and herbs; and ecology students from a nearby university.

“The fact that a homeless shelter would go out and teach people how to grow herbs and vegetables, then teach them how to cook with the produce is golden,” said John Thomas, community outreach director at Farmers’ West. “As a responsible grower promoting sustainability, Farmers’ West would want to be involved with a program like this,” he added. “It’s a no-brainer.”

Farmers’ West has been donating starter-plants to the project for almost two years, Mr. Thomas told The Produce News. “Casa Esperanza not only feeds homeless residents of their center with food produced from these plants, they also run a state-of-the-art culinary training program to prepare residents for the work force. The food they harvest from this sustainable garden is an essential part of feeding the residents at Casa Esperanza,” he added.