CHARLOTTE, N.C. — From a vegetable garden to a greenhouse, Hope Haven in Charlotte is giving its residents the skills they need to live healthier lives.
“We want to teach them and also show them how things are grown and how to eat healthier,” said Lawrence Gordon, Vice President of Workforce Development and Affordable Housing at Hope Haven, an organization dedicated to serving their community.
“We serve those that have been impacted by substance use disorder and homelessness," Gordon said. "Just giving them a place where they can come heal and then go back out into the community and live an independent life."
And one way that Hope Haven is working to transition their residents back into the community is through its Hope Grows program.
“It’s an extension of our culinary program and we have community leaders like North End Partners and also Home Depot who has helped us get this garden where we can actually serve our community better,” Gordon said.
Serving their community better through healthy eating.
“That’s a very key component to recovery is making sure that you’re eating better and healthier, inside, because it all starts inside,” Gordon said.
And they are starting inside the walls of Hope Haven to not only build a nutritional foundation for their residents, but also for the surrounding community, an area that’s a known food desert.
“Our community is very important to us and we want to make sure the young boy and girl in this community understand what a fresh tomato is,” said Gordon.
Many in the community rely on convenience stores for groceries, but Gordon sees the greenhouse and vegetable garden as a building block to inspiring generations to come at Hope Haven and beyond.
“If we can teach a mom, a single mom, a single father here in our community how to eat better and they can teach their children, you never know," Gordon said. "Their child might grow up to be a master gardener one day."
All because they see it in their community.
“That possibility is a possibility because they can see it here in the community where they’re also recovering," Gordon said.