Monday, October 25, 2021

St. Matthew’s House Unveils Agricultural Project

St. Matthew’s House has unveiled a unique ecological and agricultural project at Port LaBelle Inn and Conference Center. The team at St. Matthew’s House will work with a local Boy Scout troop to install Hydro-Stackers to help produce healthy food to feed the most vulnerable in Southwest Florida.

President and CEO of St. Matthew’s House, Vann Ellison said, “We are always looking to improve the quality of our programs. It is a joy for us be good stewards of the resources we have in LaBelle. At peak production we expect our new Hydro-Stackers to produce 600-800 pounds of fresh produce per week,” said Ellison. He continued, “These fresh greens and vegetables will go directly to feed the men and women in our programs and provide job training as well. This project will advance the mission for everyone involved.”

“We are excited about the men and women in our program taking responsibility for their own lives. They want to steward their life, their time, and activities to transform their history of addiction into a walk with freedom,” remarked Ellison. “This project doesn’t just provide food. It also helps everyone in Justin’s Place learn a lifestyle of independence and self-sufficiency rather than one of dependence.”

Establishing a vertical hydroponic growing system in LaBelle will allow St. Matthew’s House to maximize vegetable yield and produce efficiency with more vegetables produced per square yard, while decreasing the garden space needed to do so.

Founded in 2013 with the purchase of the Port LaBelle Inn and Conference Center, the St. Matthew’s House agricultural program exists to provide a sustainable and nutritional food source for the residents in its care. It also promotes holistic healing and wellness among those St. Matthew’s House serves each year. It’s the goal of St. Matthew’s House to see the program effectively producing 60% of the food needed throughout the community they serve, including residents of the Justin’s Place Recovery Programs, Campbell Lodge and the Immokalee Friendship House, as well as visitors to the feeding ministry. St. Matthew’s House aims to reflect their calling to restore the lives of the men and women they serve by the way they work to restore and steward the lands they are farming holistically.

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