The Farm at Lotus Village not only provides nutritious food for our culinary program but serves as an educational program for our guests to learn about farm-to-table and healthy eating. The program inspires our guests to not only eat healthful and nutritious meals but to start their own home garden. Below you will find an interview from an alumni of Lotus House who since exiting the shelter has started her own home garden.
What was your experience at Lotus House?
Lotus House provided me and my son shelter from the storm, in the most literal and figurative ways. We were there for about 2 months, during which time I found renewed confidence in myself, due to the profound support and encouragement from both the staff and community. We were welcomed right from the start, and no matter what challenges we faced during our stay, I was always able to find guidance to help us get through them.
How did you find an interest in gardening?
About 2 years ago, I started feeling into an urge to cultivate a relationship with the earth. I liked the ideas I found in my research, about growing our own food, and giving back to the community in a sustainable and regenerative way. I was amazed by stories I read, of people living in harmony with each other and the earth, and I wanted that for me and my son. Gardening seems like a natural step towards that goal.
How, if at all, were you impacted by the gardening initiatives at Lotus House?
For starters, I ate a huge delicious salad at every meal opportunity at Lotus House, and I was amazed when I found out they used vegetables and greens from their own gardens. I often perused the little gardening setup in the pavilion, which stated some fun facts about the Lotus House garden and what they were growing. It was there that I found information about other local gardening initiatives in the area, and started to get really interested in learning more. Jackie invited me and my son to take a tour of the hydroponic garden one day, and we helped her pull some celery that was ready to be harvested. I found the entire gardening initiative at Lotus House to be refreshing, inspiring and instrumental in taking me closer to my goal.
How do you plan to use your garden?
To grow our own food, and give back to the local community. I want to eventually start a nonprofit and my own holistic business.
What are the challenges/successes of launching your garden thus far?
Although I came to it with a strong interest and passion, I know almost nothing about actual gardening, and have never had my own garden, let alone business. Jumping in head first without a plan of how I would accomplish it was difficult for me, but we are enjoying the process now that I have. I found a lot of courage and resourcefulness that I forgot I had in me. And I already feel the impact that the garden is sending into the community. Folks stop by just to say hi while I'm watering, and it's helping my son and I to acclimate into the community.
Anything else you want to include!
When my son and I first arrived at Lotus House, we had already been in transition for 4 months. The journey felt never-ending, and all we wanted was to finally relax. We were able to do that at Lotus House. The staff recognized our needs, even when we couldn't articulate them, and allowed us a space to start healing. I'm extremely grateful.