This weekend, an innovative ‘urban farming’ program launches with opportunities for the community to get involved. On Friday and Saturday, November 16 and 17, volunteers will meet to clear and prepare a local homeowner’s land to become the first local property in the Backyard Farming program. Volunteers include members of the community, students from Santa Barbara City College and Santa Barbara High School.

On Friday and Saturday, volunteers will gather at the home of Santa Barbara resident Sean Calen Blake, a multi-disciplinary designer and Gallery Artist, who has graciously donated his backyard and water supply for this purpose. Pink Door Cottage Founder Alyce Hartman connected with Calen Blake through a website called, which connects land owners with gardeners and farmers.

“Homelessness does not define an individual. It’s how we as individuals respond to the homeless that defines a community,” said Alyce Hartman, Founder & Director of Pink Door Cottage.

Alyce Hartman is the Founder and Executive Director of Pink Door Cottage in Detroit. She started the non-profit in 2006 as a single mother of four struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over her family’s head. She and her children have experienced homelessness. And it was in the midst of this trial that her vision was birthed – even then, one of her greatest desires was to help others dealing with the same things she and her girls were facing.


WHAT: Launch of innovative ‘backyard farming’ program in Santa Barbara to address local hunger and homelessness

WHEN/WHERE: · Fri. & Sat., Nov. 16 & 17, 10am – 2 pm: 1055 Garcia Rd., Santa Barbara (between N. Milpas & Alameda Padre Sierra)

· Sun., Nov. 18, 1pm-3pm: Yanonali Community Gardens, E. Yanonali St. at Soledad St.

WHO: Participants of the new “Backyard Farming” program in Santa Barbara, Volunteers including SBCC and Santa Barbara High School students.

MEDIA CONTACT: On-site: Alyce Hartman, (313) 914-8283

On Friday volunteers will create the garden space by clearing the land of debris and unwanted foliage. On Saturday, activities include prepping the soil, and sowing the initial cover crop in preparation of row plantings to condition the garden for raised beds to be installed in the Spring. And on Sunday, volunteers will again meet at Yanonali Community Gardens to work on Casa Esperanza’s Community Kitchen garden plots.

With her own ‘roots’ in the Santa Barbara area, a year ago Hartman, inspired by the success of the urban farming movement in Detroit, donated the ‘seed’ money to Casa Esperanza for two garden plots at the Yanonali Community Gardens. On Sunday, Nov. 18 from 1-3 pm, volunteers will celebrate a year of growth with the planting of a new crop, whose fresh harvest is being utilized in Casa Esperanza’s Community Kitchen.

“Poverty allows one few freedoms,” said Hartman. “But, safe affordable housing and fresh nutritious food shouldn’t be privileges. “

Project partners and key participants include Pink Door Cottage; Island Seed and Feed; Adam Green, Instructor, Santa Barbara City College Center for Sustainability; Santa Barbara Seed Exchange; and Casa Esperanza.

About Pink Door Cottage

Pink Door Cottage is a non-profit organization based in Detroit with ‘roots’ in Santa Barbara. Our mission is to get homeless and low-income families into safe affordable housing, eliminate food insecurity, and grow healthy thriving neighborhoods. Our philosophy is simple. We believe no one should be without a secure home and no community without accessibility to fresh wholesome foods or the capabilities to produce their own. For more information how to get involved in the Santa Barbara Backyard Farming Program, visit click here.


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