Join us from 10:00am – noon, April 18, 2016 @ Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital for a presentation reviewing the health benefits of gardens, and providing an inventory of tools that can be used to track such benefits. Harvesting Health: Investigating the Therapeutic Effects of Gardens is the capstone project produced and delivered by the interdisciplinary team in the Health: Science, Technology and Policy program at Carleton University. This will be followed by an exploratory, ‘blue sky’ assessment of the near and long-term options and possibilities for the HGMH Therapeutic Gardens.
10:00 Presentation – Harvesting Health: Investigating the Therapeutic Effects of Gardens
11:00 A Blue Sky Visioning Session
A discussion of possibilities, including which factors will determine:
- …the optimal size / scale of food production on site?
The purpose of production; end use the food; reliance on facility staff for maintenance; future facility expansion; access for visitors / community; access for patients
- …the best use of the land?
From forest garden to silvi-pasture (just kidding), which purposes and factors will most limit or shape production? Risks; therapy; extension of the wheelchair-accessible raised beds; compost; future building site expansion; greenhouse[s]
- … the best use of the food?
In patient’s meals (menu needs, food safety, nutrition, etc.) or elsewhere (sale to staff, on-site farmers market, sale in local grocer / retail, donation to emergency food provider)
- …the best program / project model?
Through a dot-mocracy, following discussion of the various options: volunteer-led; social enterprise with on-staff farmer and/or volunteer coordinator; partnership with a private farmer, a community organization, or a non-profit; a Community garden. What are the operational implications of different models
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch and Site mapping session (Material: large map, mylar, markers)
Available today, from Health Environments Research & Design Journal, a new article: “Shared Opportunities on Institutional Lands: On-Site Food Production, Its Benefits, Barriers, and Opportunities“, by Irena Knezevic, Phil Mount, and Chantal Clement.
Shared Opportunities on Institutional Lands: On-Site Food Production, Its Benefits, Barriers, and Opportunities
Aim: This article outlines preliminary findings of a 3-year project that explored on-site food pro- duction on institutional properties, primarily healthcare facilities. Background: There are growing pressures on healthcare facilities to improve their food offerings and incorporate food gardens into their health programs. While several healthcare facilities produce food on-site, there are few studies that explore opportunities, capacities, and institutional barriers related to on-site food production. Methods: The study employed mixed methods including historical review, case studies, surveys, interviews, pilot garden projects, and Geographic Information System mapping. The number of par- ticipating institutions varied by method. Results: Benefits associated with on-site food production can be health, economic, environmental, and social. There are also institutional barriers including administrative roadblocks, perceived obstacles, and the difficulty in quantitatively, measuring the qualitatively documented benefits. Conclusions: The benefits of food gardens far outweigh the challenges. On-site food production has tremendous potential to improve nutrition for staff and patients, offer healing spaces, better connect institutions with the communities in which they are located, and provide the long-professed benefits of gardening for all involved—from therapeutic benefits and outdoor physical activities to developing skills and social relationships in ways that few other activities do.
Insights on systems thinking, pedagogy covering the basics of the program, videos from the inmates, and documented research and results—this is a must-read for those interested in the power of food production as rehabilitation and therapy, from the inside out, from the soil to the cell. This chapter is part of Beyond Prison—a large, freely accessible online volume that captures important new approaches to rehabilitation in a system that has mastered incarceration.
Over the last decade the garden program has become a fixture in San Quentin’s rehabilitation courses and has proven to be a successful measure to reduce recidivism. A 2011 tally of 117 garden program participants who were paroled between 2003 and 2009 found that less than 10% returned to prison or jail. Waitkus estimates that this saved California taxpayers around $54M. In California—the state with the most incarcerated individuals in the country—the rate of re-offense is remarkably high. Currently, there are 112,300 inmates doing time, with 13,500 released every month. But 61% of these former inmates return to prison within three years.
“The guys in the program have so many Aha! moments when they learn how growing food and creating gardens can be a solution for healing many systems: social systems, food systems and environmental systems.”
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…
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…
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 Society, 59(1), 126-131.
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!
We’re happy to share brand new pilot project case studies from four graduate student PAR on-site food growing projects! Each is available in html and print [pdf] form.
Students were enriched and tested by their experiences—and each was instrumental in advancing a pilot project with one of our institutional partners: the GreenWerks Garden at Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital (Lauren Turner); the Food School Farm at Centre Wellington District High School (Tim O’Brien); the Victorian Kitchen Gardens at Homewood Health Centre (Emily French); and the Our Farm Project at KW Habilitation (Elena Christy).
This year’s pilot at Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital’s Therapeutic Garden is in full swing, with a weekly market and an Open House held August 7. Further news to come!