In case you missed it, “the most killer tomato plant sale ever” was held at Schurig Center over three days in May.More than 400 healthy tomato plants made their way to new homes throughout Marin. The plants were grown from seed by clients who participate in the center’s weekly “Green Thumb Club” with volunteer Master Gardener Karen Halvorsen.
According to Karen, “The clients really put amazing heart and energy into these plants and this sale. With their help—including sneaking a few more seeds into those pots than I expected – we grew a record number of plants this year! I honestly wasn’t sure how we were going to sell them all. But clients really stepped up. I’m grateful to them and to our new and repeat customers. Now we’ve got more room for our next project!”
The tomato sale project was part of Schurig Center’s Thursday STAR Academy Class, which supports clients with opportunities to practice life skills and feel successful while engaging with their community. The word “STAR” stands for “Survivors Together Achieving Results.”
Each member of the team contributed to making the sale a success. Leading up to the event, participants worked together to make signs and took part in a mini marketing class.On the day of the sale, self-proclaimed ‘tomato selling fiend’ Lisé and teammate TK shared their enthusiasm on the street to entice passersby to stop in. While others, like Alyssa, helped shoppers select from an array of colorful heirloom tomatoes varieties, like Green Zebra and Berkeley Tie-Die, using display cards that explained each tomato’s qualities.
The sale was well-attended and even had a few VIP’s stop by…
“One of our customers said he is even on the City Council, how cool is that? But seriously, this was really great because my dream before my brain injury was always to have my own dress shop, so today I got to practice what it’s like being a sales person. It was a blast!” beamed tomato salesperson extraordinaire Michelle.Program Coordinator Sara Chambers shared, “It was great to see how our sale and the learning and preparation that led up to it really helped clients experience the full cycle of their own skills and industriousness. From growing and nurturing the plants, to conceiving and creating marketing materials, planning the sale, and interacting with customers and community members, they were able to participate at every level of the process and know that they really made this happen! And all while raising funds to make projects like this and all the other great things we do at the center possible!”
As much as possible, therapists and educators at Schurig Center strive to ensure that the recovery work clients do is generalizable to clients’ lives in the community and at home.
“Understanding that sticks with a person often happens better when there’s a full-cycle experience to tie it to,” added Sara. “This project gave us that full-cycle aspect with built-in steps that as a group we could take together toward a tangible goal.”
Thank you to all who stopped by to take home a plant!
We hope the plants will bring joy to your home every time you enjoy a fresh tomato wedge in your salad or a delicious bowl of pasta smothered in fresh tomato sauce.
Very Special Thanks to Master Gardener Karen Halvorsen
Karen’s dedication, amazing green thumb, and countless hours of volunteered time help bring enjoyment and peace to all who visit the garden at Schurig Center.