Take a course in
good water and air;
and in the eternal youth of Nature
you may renew your own.
All my hurts my garden spade can heal.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Where flowers bloom, so does hope.
Lady Bird Johnson
Horticultural therapy is the purposeful work with plants and gardens to enhance mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual well-being. Working with a trained horticultural therapist, participants achieve their specific goals related to physical, mental, emotional, or social function.
Horticultural therapy is practiced in various settings including mental health clinics, hospitals, correctional facilities, schools, farms, nursing homes, and botanic gardens. People who have benefited from horticultural therapy include healthy individuals with no diagnoses as well as adults and children with physical, psychological, and developmental disabilities; those recovering from illness or injury; people wishing to improve their quality of life in hospice or nursing home settings; victims of abuse; public offenders; and recovering addicts.
Examples of documented benefits of horticultural therapy include better physical function, reduced feelings of stress, less pain, improved mood, reduced anxiety, better ability to focus attention, and improved ability to communicate with others.
At RambleRill Farm, horticultural therapy program activities entail experience with year-round vegetable and fruit growing, beekeeping, shiitake mushroom cultivation, and marketing and selling produce in the community. No previous work with plants or on a farm is required to participate in programs.
Jane Saiers, PhD, HTR, AAS provides horticultural therapy services. She is a registered horticultural therapist through the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA). Jane has a doctorate in Psychology and Neuroscience from Princeton University and an Associate’s Degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Central Carolina Community College. She has provided horticultural therapy services to people with traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder, severe mental illness, dementia, and to the homeless. Jane is a member of the AHTA and serves on the Horticultural Therapy Advisory Committee for the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
Darin Knapp, PhD, assists with horticultural therapy services. He has a doctorate in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience. He has worked for 25 years in the neurobiology of addiction and is a scientist and mentor at the University of North Carolina’s Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies.
Information: Jane Saiers (Jane@RambleRillFarm.com, 919-618-6067)
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