In 2004 Oscar Carmona started a program called Healing Grounds Horticultural Therapy as part of the Transitions Mental Health Program serving clients through the Santa Barbara County Mental Health Services. Healing Grounds Nursery was developed as a way to provide work training and income to adult clients with mental illness.
Healing Grounds Nursery is one of the first certified organic nurseries on the Central West Coast. We specialize, and take pride, in producing the finest vegetable and herb seedlings available. Our plants are grown in potting soil rich in organic nutrients; our seedlings are fed with worm compost tea (brewed on-site), fish emulsion, and kelp concentrate. Healing Grounds’ commitment to healing people and the planet extends beyond growing plants organically, without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. We use locally produced bio-diesel. We also raise red worms to sell and use the casting in our soil blend.
Today, Healing Grounds Nursery has grown into a wholesale nursery, but, our commitment to the Planet and Community remains as strong as ever. We continue to support school and community garden programs by donating our overstock of plants to local schools and supplying them with plants for their fundraisers.
ABOUT THE OWNER
Oscar Carmona, owner and operator of Healing Grounds Nursery, has spent the last 25 years helping connect people, plants, and the planet. After graduating from UCSB in 1983, he learned organic farming from some of Santa Barbara’s best growers. In 1986 he started a horticultural therapy program at the Alpha Resource Center, working with developmentally challenged adults. From 1991 to 2004 Oscar was the Director of Garden Programs for the Community Environmental Council (CEC) in Santa Barbara, CA where he managed the City of Santa Barbara’s community gardens and CEC’s Urban Farm. He started CEC’s Green Schools’ Gardening Program, Farming Fun Summer Camp, the Santa Barbara Youth Gardening Coalition, and served as the President of the Santa Barbara Horticultural Consortium.
In addition to owning and operating Healing Grounds Nursery, Oscar has taught the Green Gardener Sustainable Landscape Courses in English and Spanish through Santa Barbara City College and Alan Hancock College in Santa Maria since 2000. These courses have introduced 1000 (and counting) landscapers in the use of environmentally sustainable methods which have been used in Santa Cruz County and elsewhere. Oscar also offers gardening and composting consultations for home gardeners and organic gardening and composting workshops.