The Healing By Growing community fosters a naturopathic healing approach that connects survivors to themselves and the earth. We seek to empower individuals to engage in sustainable farming with the goal of creating a positive impact. We offer the opportunity for the brain injury community to reconnect with the soil and learn about heritage and healing, while also reducing local food deserts. The program treats the whole person - mind, body, soul and spirit. Our holistic recovery program has an inclusive DEI approach representative of all marginalized groups.
Our community land offers an accommodating retreat space for trauma survivors to regroup and regenerate, while connecting to nature and nurturing our soil and souls. As a part of recovery, we offer a safe space to relax and heal; as many individuals don’t have the quiet space needed to silent their minds, souls and bodies to rest and get in tune with their inner self; all which is a major component in the healing process.
Through experiential holistic healing activities clients will learn to garden, compost, care for animals, plants/trees, grow and harvest diverse medicinal herbs, specialty crops and food reconnecting to their own heritages and cultures while learning sustainable ways for self-sufficiency, self-reliance, environmental conservation, sustainability and giving back to communities in need.
A large part of our mission is to raise TBI awareness for Farmers and Ranchers; their families, workers and caregivers. We've identified a lack of TBI training and awareness particularly in rural areas. Research establishes a strong link and connection between TBI’s, mental health and suicide. Founder Dr. Ivette Ruiz will lead efforts to gather much-needed research and build awareness in the community and beyond.
Curious About Food Deserts?
Food deserts are typically an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. The Healing by Growing community gardens strive to have a positive impact in community engagement; shrinking local food deserts and bridging the food insecurity gaps while increasing health and social justice efforts.
The Healing by Growing Network will stress a strong hands-on experience working with the soil and in nature that will enhance learning and recovery while creating stronger sustainable environmental opportunities creating healthy individuals and health communities. Farming techniques and farm output (i.e., produce) will be strongly aligned with Puerto Rico - the Taino indigenous heritage of the Founder.
About Dr. Ivette Ruiz, Ph.D. MHS, HS-BCP
As a 3rd generation farmer who is bi-lingual and bi-cultural I have had the immense opportunity to partner and collaborate with a variety of individuals, groups and organizations in diverse areas and platforms around BIPOC programming, Disability Integration, Underrepresented Groups, Holistic Coaching, Leadership Development and Organizational Development.
Last year I suffered a devastating Traumatic Brain Injury that changed my life completely.As a survivor I have experienced isolation, unemployment, broken relationships, rejection, suicidal ideation and delayed healthcare treatment to name a few of the daily challenges, compounded by gaps in equitable healthcare access, community-based services and affordable resources.
For over three decades I have worked in Public Services, Academia, Ministry, Healthcare, Humanitarian Disaster Relief, Human and Social Services as an Executive, Coach, Consultant, and Trainer. Most recently I spent several years as an Emergency Management Disaster Cycle Relief Services Executive with the National American Red Cross and FEMA working with disaster survivors including farmers with an applied REDI (Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) lens.
However these challenges have allowed me to pivot, rethink and repurpose myself; increasing my passion for working with the disabled community, and historical marginalized groups in the farming and agriculture world Because TBI’s are often invisible, people often think you are lying, are making things up and/or are exaggerating leaving people like myself misunderstood and without reliable, human centered, timely, affordable, holistic and compassionate care.
My goal is to improve the community's understanding of trauma related mental, behavioral and spiritual health. I hope to help connect the dots for people navigating this confusing chapter. I offer a diverse, inclusive and equitable service provider network that can assist and meet the unique needs of agricultural workers struggling from trauma. We provide an oasis respite farm space where farmers and non-farmers can receive the support, awareness and resources needed to thrive successfully after TBI injuries.