Our 137th Real Farmer Care recipient is Charles Southward of IGH Gardens @ighgardens in Bell, CA.
Charles writes, “I started growing a garden at the age of 5 years old. Throughout my life, I always had a garden, but I never thought I would be doing it as a profession. I am a USAF veteran and I became homeless in June of 2014 and was refered to the Bell Shelter for the homeless in Bell, California. After volunteering at what is known as Grow Good Farm located on the shelter compound, I was not able to get employed by the farm manager. But the director of the shelter recognized my talent and offered me 1,150 sq ft of land to grow on, as long as I gave the produce to the kitchen to prepare for the homeless. My responsibility was to do it at my own expense. So I used my social security monies to establish IGH Gardens. Now the garden produces in excess of 3,900 lbs annually. I was subjected to racism along the way, not by the shelter people, but by farm operators themselves. That is why I named the garden "In God's Hands" because it truly is.
IGH gardens is now a non-profit dedicated to becoming a “teaching” garden” and continuing to donate proceeds to the homeless with special attention to women and children shelters in the metro Los Angeles area. We survive on donations so please visit our website to learn more at www.ighgardens.org (link @ighgardens bio)”