The National Garden Bureau’s (NGB) annual grant program, Growing for Futures, recently selected three therapeutic gardens that will receive grants totaling $5,000.
Growing for Futures was started in 2014 as the philanthropic program of NGB. It supports the building and growth of therapeutic gardens across North America and furthers NGB’s mission of promoting gardening to gardeners and non-gardeners alike.
More than 67,000 voters weighed in. Here’s a look at the three winning gardens.
Lee College’s Horticulture Program at O.B. Ellis Unit, Huntsville, TX (First place vote-recipient and winner of a $3,000 grant)
In 1977, Lee College established an educational/vocational Horticulture Program at the O.B. Ellis Unit correctional facility. The program offers an A.A.S. degree in horticulture as well as certificates in horticulture and landscape management. Students have additional opportunities through the Texas A&M Master Gardener’s Program. Located within the prison complex, the site includes individual gardens, a community garden, greenhouses, a nursery area, a parakeet aviary, aquaponics enclosure, and a classroom/computer lab. The students in the program are convicted felons who come from diverse backgrounds that often include veterans, ex-gang members, and others with a history of substance abuse and mental health or emotional issues.
Vogel Alcove – Early Childhood Education Program, Dallas, TX (Second place vote-recipient and winner of a $1,000 grant)
Vogel Alcove offers access to a therapeutic early childhood learning program to young children (216 served to date) affected by homelessness. The program addresses the developmental needs of children with social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Located in Dallas, Vogel Alcove is a leader in the field of early childhood education of traumatized children. Preschool children enjoy access to therapeutic gardens in “The Backyard,” an outdoor space that includes raised bed vegetable, sensory, and wildlife gardens. All activities at Vogel Alcove are coordinated by a director who has completed a certificate program in horticultural therapy.
Alice and Herbert Sachs Therapeutic Conservatory and Garden, Elkins Park, PA (Third place vote-recipient and winner of a $1,000 grant)
The Alice and Herbert Sachs Therapeutic Conservatory and Garden is a dedicated space for MossRehab’s clinical horticultural therapy program. It offers patients recovering from traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, amputation, and other complex conditions a beautiful oasis, while also giving them an opportunity to meet their rehab goals through horticulture therapy. A registered horticultural therapist is trained in the use of horticulture as a mode for supporting an individual in physical rehabilitation. Patients are able to engage in horticultural therapy through group, individual, and co-treat sessions with occupational, physical, and speech therapists.
“Caring for plants and experiencing nature brings healing and purpose to people whose lives have been affected by illness, addiction, violence, or military service,” says Heather Kibble, NGB President. “National Garden Bureau, in partnership with local therapeutic organizations, strives to make gardening accessible to everyone, no matter their situation, history, or abilities. Our garden grant program impacts individual lives using garden-based education and therapy.”
For a complete list of all the grant applicants creating therapeutic gardens, check out the National Garden Bureau website.
For more information about National Garden Bureau, contact Diane Blazek.