DOWNERS GROVE, IL — After collecting thousands of votes from the public, National Garden Bureau, American Meadows, Sakata Seed America and Corona Tools are proud to announce the three therapeutic gardens receiving grants and in-kind donations totaling more than $5,000.
The three winning gardens are:
· The Learning Garden, Los Angeles, CA
First place vote-recipient; winner of a $3,000 grant.
For over 18 years, The Learning Garden has connected the community with organic horticulture, hands-on gardening therapy and cultivation practices. The garden also has longstanding partnerships with the UC Master Gardeners Program and Yo San University of Traditional Medicine, bringing students and the community closer to nature for healing arts and education on the benefits of plants in one’s life. This uniqueness will be extended by the new Rootworks initiative. Rootworks provides mental health therapy to the community through garden-based classes and activities. Joining modern therapeutic practices and hands-on horticulture projects, the program gives participants holistic support as they overcome addictions – targeting root conditions such as anxiety, depression, and stress. The program offers an alternative form of therapy that invites client participation in a horticultural project that boosts serotonin levels, builds self-esteem, and positively impacts the larger community.
Runner-Up; winner of a $1,000 grant.
The Capper gardens include raised garden beds on a corner of their Topeka campus, as well as raised and flat garden beds in an inner courtyard. The adults served can participate in planting, weeding, and watering of the gardens each week. Pediatric clients observe the gardens while there for therapy services. A sensory garden will expand the therapeutic value of the courtyard gardens by adding specific plants and areas to stimulate all of the senses. Goals are: 1) increase the use of the garden area during pediatric therapies; 2) be able to continue the garden program during the winter using the raised bed on casters indoors, and 3) increase the number of people learning skills by working in the gardens. The gardens can be used to get more people outdoors to enjoy the beauty of garden spaces and to help them stay calm or decrease their anxiety or negative behaviors in a safe environment. The plants will serve as the foundation or context for the healing of the people served.
· Allies, Inc., West Windsor, NJ
Runner-Up; winner of a $1,000 grant.
Allies, Inc. is a nonprofit agency dedicated to providing housing, healthcare, meaningful employment, and recreational opportunities to people with special needs in the communities of their choice. Since 1999, we have been enriching the lives of people with special needs by promoting their greater independence with dignity, respect, and understanding. Project Grow is one of the Support services that Allies offers to our individuals with special needs. The people we serve plant the seeds, maintain the gardens, collect the fresh produce, and distribute to Food Banks in three counties. Project Grow is a community garden located on the campus of Mercer County Community College. Certified Horticultural Therapists provide therapeutic activities as well as gardening for leisure. Fresh produce and herbs are featured in nutritional education and meal preparation.
National Garden Bureau, American Meadows, Sakata Seed America and Corona Tools would like to recognize all of the grant applicants that participated this year. All are listed on the NGB website. NGB encourages support of these and other therapeutic gardens by the industry, local communities, and individuals.
The judges who read through all applications and narrowed them down to the three finalists deserve a huge thank-you. Those judges are:
Patty Cassidy, Vice President of the American Horticultural Therapy Association
Barbara Kreski, Retired Director, Horticultural Therapy, Chicago Botanic Garden
Isabel Fuenzalida, Culture & Organizational Development, Sakata Seed America
Mike Lizotte, Owner/Managing Partner at American Meadows
Nick Pucci, Product Manager at Bayer Crop Science and NGB President
For more information about National Garden Bureau, please contact Diane Blazek.
· National Garden Bureau promotes the health and healing powers of human interaction with plants through a yearly grant program for therapeutic gardens.
· Sakata Seed America is a leader in breeding vegetable and ornamental seed and vegetative cuttings. They are committed to supporting organizations throughout North America to help people live productive, healthy and enriched lives.
· American Meadows says “We Do Good Through Gardening.” Their primary focus is to be great at providing home gardeners with the products and knowledge they need to succeed.
· Founded in the 1920s, Corona, Inc. is a leader in the marketing and manufacturing of professional and consumer tools for the lawn and garden, landscape, irrigation, construction and agriculture markets.