THERAPEUTIC GARDENING INITIATIVE

Healing Through Gardening

Plants and gardening have forever been a force of healing for humanity, offering connection and beauty in times of crisis, from natural disaster to personal loss. At Grassroots Gardens, we hear, again and again, stories of how our community gardens provide nourishment for our gardeners' emotional and mental health. 

Recognizing the healing power and potential of our community and school gardens, GGWNY launched the Therapeutic Gardening Initiative and its related community task force in Spring 209. We began by bringing together gardeners and local stakeholders to understand and appreciate how our gardens help individuals and communities, and to brainstorm other ways they could be used for wellness. The task force  has grown to include gardeners from Buffalo and Niagara Falls as well as representatives from Jewish Family Services, RAHAMA, Buffalo Public Schools, FeedMore WNY, Erie County, the University at Buffalo, Homespace Corporation, Community Missions, Wilson Support Center, and Journey’s End Refugee Services, Endeavor Health, Niagara Street Pediatrics and Oishei Children's Hospital, among others.

Projects led by the task force members over the last 3 seasons include:

  • Seeking funding for and implementing a pilot program to create therapeutic community gardens in residential facilities for community members going through difficult life transitions.  

  • Developing and offering our Grief in the Gardens programming, including our They That Sow In Tears workshop

  • Researching and sharing knowledge on the history, uses, and impact of community gardening, therapeutic gardening, and how the two can come together for maximal benefit. 

  • Creating a toolkit for GGWNY's community gardens on therapeutic gardening practices. 

  • Publishing a scholarly article in Acta Horticulturae and presenting our work at the International People and Plants Conference

  • Growing our therapeutic member-gardens from 1 to 8 community gardens.

Watch this video below to hear more about our innovative Grief in the Gardens program that includes our They That Sow in Tears workshop. You'll also learn about our school gardens and Freedom Gardens affiliate program.

For more information on the Therapeutic Gardening Initiative, including booking a workshop or joining the task force, please contact our Executive Director, Jeanette, at director@grassrootsgardens.org or at 716-783-9653.

Learn more about our member-gardens that offer theraeputic programming by exploring the links below.