Wasatch Community Gardens Green Phoenix Farm
The Wasatch Community Gardens Green Phoenix Farm employs women facing homelessness, helping to restore their sense of personal power while supporting them as they work to achieve their goals.
Wasatch Community Gardens (WCG) Green Phoenix Farm employs women facing homelessness, helping to restore their sense of personal power while supporting them as they work to achieve their goals. WCGs operates the 1.4-acre Green Phoenix Farm just six blocks west of downtown Salt Lake City on property leased from the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake. The WCGs Green Phoenix Farm has improved a blighted area of the city by revitalizing a vacant lot into a beautiful, productive green space. The farm acts as a catalyst to transform the community.
Since the farm’s job training program began in 2016, nearly 70 women experiencing homelessness have benefitted from the program. Most Green Team participants who complete the program obtain housing and employment. At full capacity, the job training program will be able to serve two cohorts of up to 10 participants each in a season. Each year, the farm also engages over 200 volunteers who significantly contribute the necessary work to build, operate and improve the farm.
The farm’s annual produce, valued at ~$70,000, is donated directly to underserved populations including those in family shelters, mental institutions, rehabilitation, and youth garden educational programs. The produce is not sold. Instead, the food is consumed primarily by those who would not have access to fresh, local organic produce. Other revenue streams include a plant sale of 40,000 seedlings and a seed cooperative for 20 different plant varieties. The seeds and seedlings sold multiply the benefits of local residents growing their own food in the Wasatch valley.
In partnership with Advantaged Services, the staff prepares participants for longer-term, higher-paying employment as well as to place participants in low-income housing. Wasatch Community Gardens also partners with The University of Utah and Westminster College on farm projects related to people development, diet, and social outcomes.
The farm serves as a living, working model for regenerative agriculture. Following organic, permaculture practices, the farm staff builds the soil, thereby improving the nutrient value of the produce. Compost is a center part of the site’s fertility. It is also a center for wildlife - birds, pollinators, and small mammals. The farm operates off grid with solar energy as its primary source of power. Neighbors and visitors alike enjoy the farm as a haven of beauty and peace.
The Green Team job-placement 10-month program provides a safe space where participants can work, learn, and connect with others. Participants grow, eat, and prepare fresh, healthy food and develop other healthy habits. They also receive one-on-one assistance to achieve other personal goals, including financial literacy.