This project started as a dream last fall, but with a combination of multi-organizational work and funds from this grant, it was able to become a reality. The objective of this project was to create a community garden from scratch at Prado Homeless Shelter in San Luis Obispo. The goals were to both create a sustainable way to increase the available nutritious foods for homeless participants at the shelter and to create a safe space for participants to step outside of the noise of the shelter to relax and rejuvenate. Over the course of nine months we built 5 planter boxes, 4 raised beds and 2 succulent beds which were all filled either with vegetables, succulents or flowers. What started as an empty and relatively unpleasant space was turned into a beautiful and welcoming area for participants and staff at Prado to breathe. Since the completion of the garden, roughly 5-7 homeless participants have taken the garden on as their own personal projects and work on maintaining and growing it daily. The most meaningful success story that I have heard yet is from one man who told me that he suffered from extreme PTSD. However, he said since he began working on the garden, it has helped him to have his own safe area, enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature which ultimately has made him able to go off of his PTSD medication. It is my hope that this garden continues to grow and provide a similar experience for others whom work on it!
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