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Well fed for well being 

When you buy locally grown food, you're doing something proactive to preserve the agricultural landscape of the county, and when you buy fruits, plants, and veggies from Growing Grounds, you are reinvesting in the community.

The people at Growing Grounds who produce all this tasty produce for SLO County will be brushing off the dust for a chance to work retail.

Downtown Growing Grounds at 956 Chorro St., across from the Mission in SLO, is the new venue where you can purchase fresh, locally grown food, gardening products, outside decor, and gift items while helping the employees reconnect with society.

The clerks who provide service at the new store are the youths and adults of Transitions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing help for those with mental illness.

"Community support has been really great," said Craig Wilson, program manager of Growing Grounds. "We hope that support extends itself to our new downtown store."

You may have already supported Growing Grounds without even knowing it - this tasty produce is used to prepare dishes at some popular SLO County restaurants.

Construction plans for Growing Grounds' new venue include a retrofit, plus widening of the entrance stairs in order to accommodate more traffic, a water fountain for soothing sounds, and art and pottery for purchase.

"It's all going to be custom-built. We want people to think, ‘What a warm place.' We want a comfortable atmosphere," said Megan Hall, nursery coordinator. "This also offers more possibility than we had before for client interactivity with the public."

The Transition folks all deal with some form of mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, or have dealt with some transition in their life that has led them to lose contact with their families, jobs, or even become homeless, said Jill Bolster-White, Transitions director. "This is great chance for those people to have a different work opportunity. They learn to live with their illness and also learn to live with a fixed budget."

Growing Grounds sells its product all over SLO County. From produce stands and restaurants to retail stores and Farmers' Markets, enjoy this local food that is grown, cooked, and sold by your friends and neighbors. For more info, or to volunteer, call Craig Wilson at 543-6071.

 

FAST FACTS

... Central Coast Coffee Roasting Company Inc. is donating cases of coffee and working with local businesses to support the victims of Hurricane Katrina. From Sept. 16-30, SLO Roasted Coffee will donate 50 cents to the American Red Cross for every 12-ounce can and each pound of bulk coffee sold. Perk up and pitch in by visiting your local grocery stores to purchase the coffee....

... The city of Atascadero is looking for sponsors for its local skate park. A $400 donation would allow local youth to skate at the park at no cost for one month. Any donation is accepted; however, with a $400 donation there will be a 4-by-8-foot full-color banner featuring your business or organization displayed for a one-year period, with the opportunity to renew. For more info, call Paula Anton, recreation supervisor, at 461-5000, Ext. 3472, or log on to www.atascadero.org.

... The second annual Volvo Best Buddies Challenge fund-raiser is Saturday, Oct. 1. This 100-mile cycling fund-raiser takes riders along the Pacific Coast Highway form Carmel to Hearst Castle. Soak in the views of Highway 1 while riding alongside celebrities like first lady Maria Shriver, and afterward kick back to the sounds of the Goo Goo Dolls and a barbecue cookout. To find out how you or your business can participate, contact Joslyn Matthews at (305) 374-2233, Ext. 207 or joslynmatthews@bestbuddies.org, or visit www.bestbuddies.org.

This week's Strokes & Plugs was compiled by intern Jesse Over. Send info to Arts Editor Jeff Hornaday or fax to 546-8641.

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