On any given day at Costanoa Commons Farm, you’ll likely find Chris Robertson out tilling the soil – shirtless and shoeless. Chris’s struggles to overcome homelessness and addiction, while caring for a severely autistic 13-year-old child, make him a representative of three distinct and too often despondent populations. To Chris’s right, Carson, a 20-year-old whose passion for farming shines brighter than his cerebral palsy diagnosis, preps a watermelon patch. To Chris’s left, a group of ‘special’ children attend a summer camp, oblivious to any segregating needs, and they frolic after free- range chickens.
Costanoa Commons is an urban farm/ intentional community located less than
a mile from downtown Santa Cruz, CA. Costanoa cultivates a deep sense of companionship by integrating diverse neighbors, including unhoused people and disabled youth, as common-‘panions’ (Latin for ‘spiritual/physical nourishment) through a common-passion (the foundation for ‘compassion’) for gardening.
The farm is working hard to demystify labels and misperceptions by focusing on the gifts, not the ‘needs’ that make these neighbors ‘special.’ “Noah is very clear about wanting to offer something to his community that other people value,” says Heidi. “With an effort that is truly integrated, where those with disabilities work side-by-side with others who don’t have the same challenges, attitudes that typically hinder people from living full lives can change.”
Society vastly misunderstands people who are often classified as “disabled,” despite their prominence in the community. In fact, “if formally recognized as a group [they] would be the largest minority in the United States” says the National Institute on Disability. Moreover, it is the one minority group that any of us could join at any time.
Alternatively-abled individuals are too often viewed as lacking… defined, labeled and limited by their ‘needs.’ This is far from the case, for God has made each ‘perfect’ and ‘whole’ and their presence is essential to the completeness of our greater community. As Plato wrote, “we are all born whole, but we need each other to be complete.”
As soon as you set foot on the soil – the ‘adamah’ (dirt) from which we sprout – of this Santa Cruz sanctuary, you feel at home. In these fields, inclusivity is more than an aspiration, but an experience as refreshing as the early summer strawberries brightening the fields. What makes gardeners of this farm so special isn’t their ‘dis’- abilities but their unique ability to see beyond divisive labels (the L’s, G’s, B’s, T’s and Q’s; abled and disabled; housed and homeless; Jew, Christian, Muslim…) as they cultivate a community of true acceptance.
How can you help you ask?
- Donations of gift cards: Help us provide for those who are working to provide for the community! These veterans are transitioning out of homelessness and any support towards food, transportation, social services, or therapeutic services (medical, nutritional, counseling, etc) is incredibly helpful.
- Host a ‘Pop-up Farmstand! : We are looking for safe/supportive events and communities to bring our mobile gratuity based (pick ur price) organic farmers market simulation stand and pizza stand!
- Visit/volunteer at our farm!!! We’ve partnered with www.costonoacommons.org and host volunteers every tuesday 10am-1pm, our Saturday farmstand 12-3pm, and would love to schedule a special intro/workday for you and/or your group side by side with our special needs and homeless gardeners! 335 Golfclub dr., Santa Cruz CA
- Hire one of our trainees! Our program is meant to be a transitional (and transformational) step towards longterm employment and housing…. We would love to work with you as a potential placement site for individuals as they grow ready to re-enter the workforce.
Make a financial contribution. All donations are tax exempt and we invite you to direct your support towards general operations or specific initiatives:
- Provide a scholarship for one of our participants (a small stipend for their garden work and material costs for their project)
- Sponsor a produce scholarship for a community in need, event, etc
- Help us get a dehydrator! (@$550)
- Build a Barn! $10,000 to go!
Learn more about our partners www.costanoacommons.org
Our Volunteer lead Santa Cruz Sweaty Sheep Program continues to grow, but not without you!!!
Email Ryan@sweatysheep.com if you’d like to learn more about the program or have an interest in leading any number of fun, formative, playful meet ups/intentional communities! We want everything from board games to dancing, Art to hiking, sailing and surfing to knitting and sipping… Get creative and playful… and help us create a holistic community of intentional recreation.
Our Goal is to create a culture of ‘Compassion’ by uniting in ‘Common-Passions’… Using play as the “Common-Unity’ of a more cohesive ‘Community!”
Don’t read any further before you Facebook “Friend” us … everyone loves friends and you don’t want to miss an impromptu surf, sail, or hike invite!!!!
- Unbuntu Acres Gardening days at ‘Common Roots Farm‘: Tuesdays and Fridays 10-2pm. (activities for all!!!). 335 Golf Club dr.
- Wednesday Reflective Sails! No sailing experience needed and first come first serve (12 spots every week… so sing up today!!) Devotion and cast off AT 5:30PM (yes, late arrivals result in tears or a swim:). Text Ryan @ 443-223-7334 to save a spot!
- Thursday Special Needs Sailing! 145pm Help us make the bay accessible to all! Text Ryan to volunteer!
- 1st Sundays worship at the Unitarian Universalist church on Freedom Blvd, 10am
- This is exciting! Each first Sunday we will engage in a shared service where Rev Ryan (your sweaty sheep guru) and Rev Russ of the uua take 10 min each to reflect on a topic such as doubt, human nature, transcendence etc…
- This time also includes an amazing organic lunch and full array of formative supplemental breakout sessions for each age group centered at diverse faith exploration and inclusivity.
- Sept 28th: Inclusive bike ride and party! Meet at the tannery at 11! https://www.bikesignup.com/SunriseRotaryCelebration
- Oct 6th: 10am at the uua fellowship on Freedom! Bring a drum or other instrument for a lunchtime jam! Freedom blvd
- Oct 19th: Farm Party! 10am until??? jobs and activities for all ability levels — Bring a sick to share that says something about what makes you special!
- Oct 26th. ANNUAL SPECIAL NEEDS SUPER AWESOME & INCLUSIVE HALLOWEEN DANCE PARTY!!! Don’t miss this one! 6:30-8:30pm at Trinity Presb Church on Melrose ave.
- costume contest, karaoke and snacks… come get groovy with our super special friends!!!
- Tuesdays 330pm: Shared art projects at Hope Services! Join in a time of unity and creativity with some ‘special’ friends!!
Mark your Calendars now for our south Lake Tahoe ski and art retreat! Fen 7-14th (Details to come!!!)
- Keep up via Facebook “Sweaty Sheep Santa Cruz”
1029 S Preston St.
In Louisville, Sweaty Sheep launched RunPossible, a program partnered with St. Vincent De Paul that provides mentorship and wellness opportunities to individuals facing homelessness and/or working towards sobriety and self-sustainability by pairing each with local community members such as YOU. Through running and walking, Yoga, Zumba, nutritional education, and personal relationships RunPossible initiates a self-transformation process through exercise and wellness that aids in the development of life changing friendships and self-confidence.
Every Tuesday we meet for a walk/jog at 6pm and on Fridays at 5:30pm we host Yoga with KY Yoga Initiative or Zumba with a skilled instructor. All located at 1029 S Preston Street in the SVDP Family Success Center.
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|Fridays 5:30pm||Free Yoga or Zumba|
DON’T MISS A FLOCKING!! Sweaty Sheep is truly Christianity on the Move, and we want YOU to keep up! Join our text message list (we won’t flood you with messages) by texting “Sheep” to 51555. This is a simple, no strings, cancel anytime, text group. If you do want to donate you can text “Sweaty” to 41444 and you can make a pledge for later or specify a donation amount. Thank you all!!
Come out this Thursday for a concert and bourbon cook-off! Jesse DeConto, writer for Christian Century and indie musician, will share his stories through song. Come listen to his band, Pinkerton Raid, eat some great food, and taste home-brewed beer at Calvin Church, 2501 Rudy Lane, this Thursday at 6:00!
Now is the best time to get involved! Sign up on runpossible.sweatysheep.com to join our Wednesday morning runs at 6:00AM every week! We meet at Hotel Louisville (Wayside Christian Mission) to inspire and be inspired by some amazing people from Wayside as we run and walk together. Everyone’s welcome (slow or fast!), and if you can’t make it on Wednesday mornings, just hit the donation button to the right to buy a pair of shoes for one of the participants in need!
Join us in May for runPossible – a run/walk ministry for the disadvantaged. We’ll meet at 6:00AM Wednesday mornings at Wayside on Broadway. Click here to volunteer or learn more!
Come out to the Sunrise service this Sunday at 7am, Dog Hill at Cherokee Park… and/or our 9:24am Easter service at the church with an Egg Hunt to follow!!! And Visit us at the KY DERBY MARATHON EXPO and get your “superhero” picture taken:)