Welcome to
Healing By Growing Farms

Trauma Recovery
Through Experiential Farming 

Bienvenidos | Welcome to our website

The Healing By Growing community fosters a holistic healing approach that reconnects trauma survivors to themselves, nature, and the environment. We seek to empower individuals to engage in sustainable and regenerative permaculture.

We are committed to educating and empowering farmers, fishermen, forest workers and the community whose lifestyle has been impacted by trauma or a disability with the goal of creating a more accessible and inclusive environment.

Our community gardens are located on the shoreline of East Haven, CT and are ADA accessible. We offer a serene respite space within a suburban landscape where brain injury and trauma survivors have a place to regroup and regenerate; Sanando Our Brain, Our Spirit and Our Soil. We ensure a safe space to grow, relax and heal as part of the recovery process. 

Many individuals don’t have access to green spaces that provide a place for refuge while promoting healing for  survivors themselves but also for their families, and caregivers. A quiet retreat needed to silence their minds, souls and bodies to rest and get in tune with their inner self; all which is a major component in the healing journey. We aim to provide such space.

Through therapeutic farming sessions and holistic healing activities farm guests (aka trauma survivors) can learn the art of advocacy, basic agricultural practices and environmental conservation skills such as: Gardening, composting, husbandry, hydroponics, aquaponics, apiculture, propagation; utilizing medicinal herbs, growing specialty crops and foods that reconnect them with their heritage and culture. All while learning sustainable ways that create self-sufficiency, self-reliance, income opportunities and vocational skills. At HBG farms survivors grow in more ways than one. They often talk about the satisfaction they experience knowing they are also contributing to bridging food desserts; as we love giving back to communities in need by way of donating goods to local food insecure communities and to the disabled.

A large part of our mission is to coach, educate, advocate, research and raise Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) awareness for farmers, growers, producers, farm service providers, their families, workers and caregivers. We've identified a lack of TBI training, awareness, access, inclusion and preparedness particularly in agricultural communities where research establishes a strong link and connection between TBI’s, mental health and suicide.

Founder Dr. Ivette Ruiz thrives in  providing Agriculture, Social Justice and Farming Consultations in an effort to educate and train on issues of disabilities, food justice, equity, diversity, integration, aging, socially disadvantaged farmers and Beginning Farmers.

The Healing By Growing Farms space serves as a demonstration site for Urban, BIPOC, Veterans and New Growers seeking to learn diverse AG practices while maximizing any available space to grow.

Dr. Ruiz spends much of her time conducting needed research and increasing awareness nationwide for the agricultural community.

Message From The Founder

Dr. Ivette Ruiz, Ph.D. MHS, HS-BCP

As a bi-lingual and bi-cultural 3rd generation new farmer I have had the immense opportunity to partner and collaborate with a variety of individuals, groups and organizations in diverse areas and platforms around Disability Integration, Marginalized Groups, Holistic Coaching, Leadership Development and Organizational Development.

In the Summer of 2020 as I prepared for a deployment in response to Hurricane Isais I fell and suffered a devastating Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that changed my life completely forever. As a survivor I have experienced isolation, unemployment, broken relationships, rejection, discrimination, 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 Service, Academia, Ministry, Healthcare, Disaster Relief, Human and Social Services as an Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer. Most recently I worked as an Emergency Management Disaster Cycle Relief Services Executive and as the Disability Integration Lead at the National American Red Cross and FEMA; working with disaster survivors including farmers who lost everything due to disasters. While I no longer can perform many of the tasks above; I was able to reset my goals and use my skills for good turning a tragedy into hope for myself as well as for others.

One of my goals is to help the agricultural community who faces similar Justice, Equity, Diversity and Integration (JEDI) challenges and has a significant aging farmers community. Aging farmers need some of the very same services I have struggled with such as understanding, access and accommodations. In order for these farmers to successfully and effectively continue growing food for our nation we must learn and prepare in advance to respond to their needs.

My injury allowed me to pivot, rethink and repurpose myself; increasing my passion for working with the disabled community, and historical disadvantaged groups in the farming and agricultural space. I intend to rise and speak out because TBI’s, mental health and trauma are often invisible and only noticed when is too late.

Many people often think you are lying, making things up and/or are exaggerating, leaving people like myself misunderstood and without reliable, human centered, timely, affordable, holistic, accessible, inclusive and compassionate care. I want to ensure that as our farmers age that we are giving them a voice and the supports needed for them to thrive.

Another one of my goals is to improve the farming community's understanding of trauma related mental, behavioral and spiritual health that often leads to suicide. Through our healing experiential farming approach, consulting and coaching at Healing By Growing Farms, we hope to help connect the dots and advocate for farmers and others navigating this difficult stage of their life.

I invite you to please join me in my journey to expand access to green spaces for healing, increase TBI awareness amongst farmers, shrink food deserts in our community, create equitable opportunities for beginning and BIPOC farmers as well as be a voice for the voiceless.

Note: If you ate today thank a farmer for what you consumed!

Potatoes and whips saved my life; now is my turn to give back, in gratitude and save as many as I can save!

Much love and blessings,