Take Back Santa Cruz

TBSC Non-Profit Community Spotlight – Homeless Garden Project


Helping over 600 people find a
place they can grow, succeed and put down roots; a
local nonprofit serving the homeless will now
be able to put down stronger roots of its own!

TBSC and its Executive Committee warmly congratulate Santa Cruz very own Homeless Garden Project on their Edible Monterey Bay Local Hero Winner nonprofit of the year for 2016!

In December 2015, the Santa Cruz City Council approved plans for Homeless Garden Project (HGP) to take over a 9-acre section of the 640 acre city owned landmark greenspace known as Pogonip. Originally part of Cowell Ranch, Pogonip was the site of a famous golf and polo grounds in the early 20th century. More recently, its rustic clubhouse appeared in the cult favorite vampire movie, Lost Boys, in 1987.  The famous film was centered in the fictitious beach town of Santa Carla (AKA – our very own Santa Cruz). Pogonip is now a very popular mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding area serving Santa Cruz and beyond.

Full scale community capital campaign to finance the improvements

The city of Santa Cruz is now finalizing the lease of Pogonip’s Lower Main Meadow with HGP.  The plan for the leased land by HGP is to build a small administrative office, a barn and a greenhouse by year end 2017. The organization is planning a full scale community capital campaign to finance the improvements at their new Pogonip property.

Having a permanent site will give the Homeless Garden Project the ability to plan for the long term. The initial lease will be for 20 years with three 5-year renewals available, for a potential total lease term of 35 years.  HGP was thinking about this long term plan before1998, when the city of Santa Cruz placed the concept in the Pogonip master plan. The current plan for the property, if all goes as envisioned, is to plant a cover crop in 2016, spend 2017 preparing the site and building up the soil and have its first crops for actual harvest in 2018.

Long time TBSC favorite nonprofit community group

A long time TBSC favorite nonprofit community group, Homeless Garden Project has always been about healing and engaging people’s spirits by reconnecting them with the land. Now HGP will have its own land to deepen and strengthen its own community roots.

The nonprofit, recently celebrating its 25 year anniversary, is currently on a monthly lease at a four-acre farm near Natural Bridges State Park. The site serves as its CSA operations, u-pick farm and workshop. Its administrative offices are located at another site. Pogonip will allow the organization to combine all of its operations at one site for the 1st time. A huge benefit to the organization and all those it serves.

Homeless Garden Project provides job training, transitional employment and support services to people who are homeless

The farms expansion at Pogonip brings the opportunity to help more program participants. 600 plus homeless people have participated in the program since the program began in 1990. The program teaches the homeless how to grow and harvest crops, develop needed social and job skills to increase marketability, provides counseling and social service support to manage other parts of their lives more successfully and helps the individuals to find housing.

HGP currently serves about 17 trainees and hopes to triple the number of people it serves at the new farm site in its long range plans, while still maintaining the high quality of the current program.

Additional plans range from more volunteer opportunities, increased donations of produce from the farm to nonprofit programs feeding the hungry to new events, including a health fair to promote eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. The Homeless Garden Project’s new home is envisioned as a resource beyond the shores of Monterey Bay and a gem for the city of Santa Cruz and for visitors from near and far.

Homeless Garden Project
Downtown Santa Cruz Store: 110 Cooper St., Suite. 100G (@ Pacific Ave)
Farm and Farm Stand: Shaffer Road @ Delaware Avenue
Web Address: homelessgardenproject.org

NEW! Our Downtown Store has year-round hours.

Address Map
110 Cooper Street, Suite 100G
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone 831.295.6217

Extended Holiday Hours: November 16-December 24 Open: Everyday, 10-8. Closed Thanksgiving, closing early December 24

Downtown Store Regular Hours:
OPEN: Friday & Saturday, noon – 7 PM; Sunday, noon – 6 PM


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