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Insight Garden Program—San Quentin State Prison

Breaking New Ground: Gardening on the Inside

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.”

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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!

*NEW* Project SOIL Pilot and Participatory Action Research (PAR) Case Studies

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.

pilot-case-studies

http://projectsoil.ca/project-overview/pilots/

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!

 

Are Hospital Farms the Next Big Thing in Healthcare Reform?

… from Civil Eats, July 21, 2015

When it comes to improving the food on today’s hospital trays, some medical institutions are finding that onsite farms are the next logical step

This summer, St. Luke’s Hospital started sending all new moms home from the hospital with a basket of fresh produce, recipes and literature about the importance of a healthy diet. Continue reading Are Hospital Farms the Next Big Thing in Healthcare Reform?

Champlain LHIN and the Healthy Foods initiative

Winchester hospital hungry for gold after reaching ‘Healthy Foods’ milestone

Seaway News, July 15, 2015

When it comes to providing better food choices, it seems Winchester District Memorial Hospital is the picture of good health. WDMH became the second hospital in eastern Ontario to reach the bronze level in the regional ‘Healthy Foods in Champlain Hospitals’ initiative. The initiative aims to reduce unhealthy food and beverage choices in the hospital’s cafeteria, vending machines and gift shop. Read more

Pembroke Regional Hospital signs on to healthy food program

Daily Observer, May 14, 2015

The Pembroke Regional Hospital (PRH) has voluntarily signed on as one of fifteen participating hospitals in the Healthy Foods in Champlain Hospitals program and is well on its way to completing the program’s first level of requirements and achieving a Bronze designation.

The Healthy Foods initiative was developed to create a supportive, healthy food environment for patients, visitors, staff, physicians and volunteers by providing better food options in hospital retail settings. Read more

Arnprior hospital praised for commitment to healthy eating

Inside Ottawa Valley, March 19, 2015

Arnprior Regional Hospital (ARH) has become the first of 15 hospitals participating in the Champlain Healthy Foods in Hospitals program to reach the Bronze designation – a full year ahead of the target date. “Congratulations to the team at Arnprior Regional Health for its commitment to improving the health of our community,” said Champlain LHIN CEO Chantale LeClerc in a news release. “I am extremely proud that hospitals in our region are modeling healthy eating to the thousands of patients, visitors, staff, physicians, and volunteers they serve. The Healthy Foods in Hospitals initiative will go a long way to helping a very large number of people stay healthy and avoid disease and the Champlain LHIN is pleased to support its implementation.”

The Healthy Foods initiative is about creating a supportive, healthy food environment for staff, physicians, visitors, patients and volunteers. Read more

 

Taking ‘Food as Medicine’ to Heart

…from ABC News… A Story of Two Hospitals

St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, hosts a farmers market every Wednesday in its main lobby featuring produce gown on the hospital’s 25-acre farm. The land used for the farm was a hospital lawn until 2010 when a horse-drawn plow broke ground on the first 4 acres. The farm, now known as “The Farm at St. Joe’s,” has since expanded to include three large “hoop houses,” greenhouse-like structures that provide seasonal produce for the market — as well as patient meals, the hospital’s cafeteria and local food banks — all year long.

Across the country in Long Island, New York, Stony Brook Medicine has also embraced the idea of “farm to bedside.” Iman Marghoob, a registered dietician and horticultural specialist in charge of the hospital’s 4,000-square-foot rooftop garden, said the project is just as important for educating staff, patients and students as it is for providing seasonal vegetables and herbs.

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