Exploring The Healing Powers Of Food Gardens – OPHA Blog

Carleton University Health Sciences Students Working With Project SOIL To Explore The Healing Powers Of Food Gardens

A group of Carleton University graduate students in the “Health: Science, Technology & Policy” program are investigating the health benefits of institutional gardens as their group capstone project. Master’s students Kyle Dwyer, Jodie Lawlor, Jillian McGivern, Emma Pagotto, and Marie-Claire Flores Pajot have spent the last six months developing an extensive literature review and environmental scan of institutional gardens and potential health benefits they may bring. The project was developed with input from three Ontario institutions with active gardens – Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria (Horticultural Therapy Garden), KW Habilitation in Kitchener-Waterloo (Our Farm), and Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital in Thunder Bay (GreenWerks Garden). Supervised by Drs. Susan Aitken, Edana Cassol and Irena Knezevic, and in collaboration with Project SOIL (led by Dr. Phil Mount of the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems), the students will deliver a report on their findings this coming April. The report will be accompanied by an inventory of evaluation tools and measurements that can help health care institutions document the benefits of their gardens and programs that use the gardens for therapeutic purposes. The official April launch is being planned at Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria. Read more

From the Eden Alternative… to the Green House

The Eden Alternative

…for Thomas and his staff, it was a revelation. Caring for the plants and animals restored residents’ spirits and autonomy; many started dressing themselves, leaving their rooms and eating again. The number of prescriptions fell to half of that of a control nursing home, particularly for drugs that treat agitation. Medication costs plummeted, and so did the death rate.

He named the approach the Eden Alternative — based on the idea that a nursing home should be less like a hospital and more like a garden — and it was replicated in hundreds of institutions in Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia as well as in all 50 U.S. states.
Read more from the Washington Post story…

Related Stories

The Green House Effect: Homes for the Elderly to Thrive (NYTimes)
Move Over Nursing Homes — There’s Something Different (NPR)
The Green House Project—Caring Homes for Meaningful Lives
The Green House Project: The Next Big Thing in Long-Term Care?
Financial Implications of the Green House Model (Seniors Housing and Care Journal — Free Access)

Sharkey, S. S., Hudak, S., Horn, S. D., James, B., & Howes, J. (2011). Frontline caregiver daily practices: A comparison study of traditional nursing homes and The Green House Project sites. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society59(1), 126-131.
(free access)

Growing Food for Health

Exploring the therapeutic benefits of food gardens at Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital, in Alexandria, Ontario

As a leading innovator in the delivery of hospital rehab services, Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) is home to an expansive therapeutic garden, established as an extension of the Stroke Rehabilitation department. The garden has been expanding slowly since 2011, and this past year—in collaboration with Project SOIL—the growing area almost doubled in size. In 2015, the garden team produced over fifty varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers, using SPIn techniques and organic practices.

While they are consistently imagining ways to expand production and in-house use of fresh food, the team at HGMH is also looking to future projects — including working with researchers at Carleton University to develop tools to assess the preventative and therapeutic benefits of edible gardens.

You can find the full case study here!