Last summer, we were excited to announce our new project, Alo House Farms. Since unveiling the organic farm project, Alo House Farms has gone on to produce an abundant amount of healthy favorites such as: Kale, Broccoli, Beets, Carrots, Strawberries, and Tomatoes as well as herbs: Sage, Thyme, Rosemary and Lavender. Many of which were enjoyed as recently as our Thanksgiving feast, last week.
One of the many rewarding benefits of Alo House Farms is its ability to lift the stigma of addiction in society. Especially in Malibu, where treatment centers are often villainized, Alo House’s mission is to show a new side of their clients to the larger community. Not only are they fully contributing members of society, but also they are actually feeding and nourishing their neighbors,
As the year begins to roll to an end, we here at Alo House are happy to reflect on the many successes enjoyed by clients through their experience at Alo House Farm. One member of the Alo House community, whose story really embodies the positive effects of such modalities as gardening therapy, is our own Jared DeFrancesco.
Jared arrived in Malibu about three months ago and through his recovery program, he became very engrossed in Alo House Farms and the garden, in particular. Having owned his own farm in Vermont called Full Steam Farm with his girlfriend Molly, who passed away prior to him entering into treatment, Jared found solace in applying his previous experience in farming to his new life in recovery as well as a way to carry on his work in memory of Molly.
With his specialized skill set already in place, he was tasked with calling around to local venders for quotes on organic soil to freshen up what was currently in use. One of the company’s he contacted was Malibu Compost, who is known specifically for their certified biodynamic and organic soils. Unbeknownst to Jared, the person whom he had spoken to on the phone let Co-Founder and Malibu local, Randy Ritchie, know that someone from a local Malibu recovery center had called regarding soil for their gardening therapy program. Intrigued, Randy contacted Jared to learn more about the project and requested to come by to meet him and see the work in action.
Upon meeting, Randy was impressed with Alo House Farms and the work Jared, along with his Alo Housen peers, were accomplishing through their work with on the farm. As the next couple months unfolded, Randy became a frequent visitor and helping hand in the garden. What’s up next for these two newfound friends? They plan to host a Compost Tea Workshop for the Alo House community, to teach budding gardeners how to create this effective and natural fertilizer for seedlings and garden plants. As for ongoing goals for the garden, the long-term plan is to grow enough of the healthy green vegetable, Kale, for Alo House Farm Kale Chips to be sold locally at markets such as the Malibu Farmers Market.
We will be sure to keep you all updated on the workshop and the kale chips!
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