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Summer at Potrero Nuevo/Abundant Grace Farm
June 21st, 2016
By Catholic San Francisco

The farm program at Abundant Grace Coastside Worker, formerly known as the Catholic Worker House, in Half Moon Bay employs people, feeds people, provides a context for friendships to form and reconnects us all to the land. “It’s a wonderful experience to work together planting and harvesting, telling stories, talking about life together,” says Coastside Worker executive director Eric DeBode.

“One of the guys who came every week last year has since found a job in construction and a house to live in,” DeBode said. “He came to see us earlier this year, and he was all cleaned up, shaved, with a haircut and clean clothes. When I asked him what happened he said, ‘I realized I was worth more, it was you guys, going to the farm, talking to everybody. I just finally realized I was worth more.’

“We can’t package that or put it into a program,” DeBode said, “but that’s what I hope for everyone.”

About 15 people come to the farm regularly throughout the year – mostly homeless, some farmworkers, DeBode said.

“Every person who comes to the farm has several unique and particular reasons why he or she is struggling, a personal story full of triumphs and tragedies, “and our role is to walk with them, listen, to do what we can to open the right doors for them, to find resources that help,” he said.

Coastside Worker collaborates with Potrero Nuevo Farm, located a few minutes south of Half Moon Bay. The farm donates use of its land, farm equipment, harvest support, seed and other materials, according to Coastside Worker’s website. Coastside Worker raises money to employ homeless people and farmworkers to plant and harvest over 20,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce every year. The produce is distributed for free at five sites along the coast – “addressing issues of food justice, access to organic fruits and vegetables, obesity and disease prevention, and sustainable, environmental farming,” Coastside Worker says.

Volunteer at the farm on Mondays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., or at breakfast Wednesdays and Thursdays, 6-9:30 a.m. Call (650) 726-6621.

From June 23, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

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