Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Horticulture Therapy Programs at Innisfree Farm
Summer 2010

What is Horticulture Therapy (HT)?
HT is a client-centred practice designed to connect people with gardening, plants and the natural world in a way that meets their needs and interests. HT gardens, tools and activities are often physically accessible.

Why Horticulture Therapy?
HT goals support physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social,
and vocational well-being in a safe and healthy environment. HT facilitators are trained in working with individuals who face barriers in society, or who have special needs.

Who can benefit from Horticulture Therapy?
Anyone! Specifically, HT programs in Canada and worldwide include seniors, people with physical challenges, people living with mental health or addiction issues, at-risk youth, people with developmental disabilities, women in transition.

For more information contact Lisa: (250)872-4252

Gardens Without Borders is a registered not-for-profit

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What is Horticulture Therapy? Definitions


“The use of plants, gardens, and the natural landscape to improve cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.”

Canadian Horticulture Therapy Association, 2010

Horticultural Therapy is a process through which plants, gardening activities, and the innate closeness we all feel toward Nature are used as vehicles in professionally conducted programs of therapy, and rehabilitation.”

S. Davis 'Horticultural Therapy – Principles and Practice'

Horticulture Therapy is a professionally conducted client-centred treatment modality that utilizes horticulture activities to meet specific therapeutic or rehabilitative goals of its participants. The focus is to maximize social, cognitive, physical and/or psychological functioning and/or to enhance general health and wellness.”

R. Haller and C. Kramer 'Horticulture Therapy Methods'

Horticulture Therapy, to me, uses plants, the garden, and the natural world around us to develop programs that are accessible, client-centred and non-directive in their approach. The programs are client-centred in the way that the activities and goals of Horticulture Therapy reflect the needs and goals chosen by the individual. The programs are non-directive in the way that myself, as the facilitator, does not attempt to steer the clients to any sort of rehabilitative solution; the clients themselves hold the key to their own healing. The plants are the catalyst by which healing happens My role is to develop creative and engaging activities that reflect the needs expressed by the client, and to share my experience in horticulture and support work in a way that is meaningful to the client.”

Lisa Hamilton, Certified HorticultureTherapist

Of People and Plants by Chanchal Cabrera

Since time immemorial herbs and plants have been assigned magical and mystical properties and have offered balm to those who were suffering. Their chemical properties have been applied as medicines and still form the basis of modern pharmaceutical science. Their energetic properties are applied for psychic or soul healing.

There is an instinctive attraction of people to plants – whether a bouquet of flowers, a lovely park, a path through the woods or our own gardens – and this attraction is the basis for the practice of horticulture therapy. We are drawn to plants; we feel better when we have exposure to plants; we use plants to mark all the important occasions through our lives. Births and deaths, weddings and anniversaries have been marked with flowers for thousands of years, as witness the ancient Persian burial chambers with many seeds and plant remains. Kings and Queens since the ancient Egyptians have been anointed on ascending to the throne. Even Elizabeth II was ritualistically anointed with neroli, rose, cinnamon, jasmine, benzoin, musk, civet and ambergris in sesame oil on her coronation as have all English monarchs for hundreds of years. The Victorians created a whole language of flowers whereby the contents of a bouquet or corsage could display ones intent towards a sweetheart or a suitor. Today we give roses to our lovers, we put flowers on a grave and we take plants to people in hospital. Plants and people have evolved over the millennia, side by side, sharing air and water and even sharing DNA.

Medicine men, shamans and elders in (so-called) primitive cultures around world, when asked how the first people knew which plants to pick, consistently answer that the plants told them so. Their relationship to the plant world is so intimate that they can hear what the plants have to say about their uses and dangers. Ancient Egyptians wrapped their mummies in cloths soaked in oil of Myrrh and Frankincense. This would not only preserve their bodies very well, but it was believed to ease their ascent to the higher plains of existence. Ancient Celts named the letters of the alphabet after trees so that reciting the alphabet meant listing birch, rowan, alder and willow. Some Celtic tribes also gave tree names to the months or seasons, pointing to a deep symbiotic inter-relationship with Nature and their landscape.

For most of us today, surrounded by development and a man-made landscape, Nature is something we glimpse through the car windows as we crawl along in rush hour traffic, or maybe if we are lucky it is a park where we can spend our lunch hour in the summer. We may try to get to the beach on the weekend but for the most part we are cut off, alienated and isolated from Nature. Horticulture Therapy presents an opportunity for individuals and communities to overcome this tragic loss. Everyone can participate, regardless of mental or physical ability, anything from digging new vegetable beds to sitting in the sun enjoying the flowers.

Horticulture Therapy provides an opportunity to reconnect soul and soil.

Horticulture Therapy Programs on Vancouver Island

Broadmead Care Society: Lodge at Broadmead
Lodge at Broadmead has a Canadian Horticulture Therapy Association (CHTA) registered Horticulture Therapist working with Veterans and Seniors with dementia.
Woodwynn Farm
Woodywnn Farms is a therapeutic community in Saanich providing shelter, meals, counselling, peer support, and educational/vocational opportunities through organic farming for people wanting to get off the street.
Garry Oak Restoration Project at Government House
Facilitated by environmentalist, naturalist and support worker Joe Percival, individuals with mental health challenges are successfully restoring a Garry Oak ecosystem.

Cowichan Valley
Providence Farm
Providence Farm was gifted to the community by the Sisters of St. Ann's in 1979—celebrating over 30 years of community and Horticulture Therapy programs!
Glenora Farm
Based on the Camphill model, Glenora Farm operates as a therapeutic community where people with disabilities, their support workers and families live and farm together.
McSeeds on Cedar Wood Farm
McSeeds offers therapeutic gardening programs and vocational training to people with barriers, and is affiliated with the Vancouver Island University continuing education program.

Comox Valley
St. Joseph's General Hospital
The extended care unit at St. Joe's provides therapeutic gardening opportunities to its residents.
Anderton Therapeutic Garden
In addition to being a beautiful garden for all ages and abilities to enjoy, Anderton Garden is also wheelchair accessible and has enabling gardens for people with physical challenges.
Gardens Without Borders
Horticulture Therapy not-for-profit Gardens Without Borders is a part of the healing centre that is Innisfree Farm, with programs set to begin in the summer of 2010.

Gardens Without Borders Mission Statement

To support and facilitate the physical, social and spiritual rehabilitation of individuals and communities during or after destructive trauma.
To practice community gardening and horticulture therapy, both within our own community and in countries that have experienced destructive traumas.
To support, promote and facilitate the provision of nutritious foods, and traditional herbal medicines to individuals and communities.
To support and facilitate the recognition, practice and teaching of indigenous herbal medicines and folk healing practices.
To support, promote and facilitate the transmission of traditional knowledge of regional and sustainable horticultural and agricultural practices.

Vision statement
Establish a teaching, gardening and horticultural therapy centre in Courtenay, BC.
Establish therapeutic gardens in developing countries – may include refugee camps, war zones and post war countries or countries damaged by natural disaster.
These facilities will serve multiple purposes;
Growing food, medicines and flowers for the community and for possible trade or sale.
Physical rehabilitation of individuals who have been injured by war or others with disabilities from birth or accident.
Social rehabilitation of individuals emotionally damaged through war or other trauma.
Gathering knowledge and wisdom on regional horticultural practices from elders, farmers and gardeners.
Gathering and sharing knowledge and wisdom on regional healing practices from traditional healers.
Sharing of this knowledge and wisdom with young people, who can carry it forward.
Training or re-training of individuals in horticulture and in traditional healing as a viable vocation.