Growing Grounds Farm in Santa Maria combines horticultural therapy and vocational training to provide individuals with mental illness employment and a supportive environment where personal growth can be realized. Growing Grounds Farm Santa Maria was launched in October 2000, modeled on the successful Growing Grounds Farm San Luis Obispo.
What Services Are Provided?
- Job-skills training through the use of horticultural therapy.
- Work experience.
- Opportunities for job advancement and increased responsibility.
- Daily contact with co-workers and an on-site mental health worker to discuss work, socialization or other areas of interest and concern to the individual.
- A safe, supervised environment for strengthening social skills among peers.
- An opportunity to meet with the on-site Vocational Specialist to connect people to jobs in the community. Services are provided in conjunction with the ADMHS Mental Health Co-Op and the California State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
- A job and a paycheck.
What Is the Work Like?
- Employees are paid and are involved in every aspect of production—from propagation and seeding to weeding, harvesting, flower-arranging, and selling directly to customers.
- Employees work varying shifts, from 3–20, hours per week in an environment that rewards personal growth, responsibility and initiative.
- Employees perform most of the work at the farm outdoors. The work is physical—at times demanding, rewarding and can contribute significantly to an individual’s recovery.
Who Can Work at Growing Grounds?
Most employees are referred to us by Santa Barbara Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services. Employees are diagnosed with persistent illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder or major depression.