National Garden Bureau promotes the health and healing powers of human interaction with plants through a yearly grant program for therapeutic gardens. Sakata Seed America is a leader in breeding vegetable and ornamental seed and vegetative cuttings. They are committed to supporting organizations throughout North America to help people live productive, healthy and enriched lives.
Benefits of a Therapeutic Garden
According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, horticultural therapy (HT) is a time-proven practice. The therapeutic benefits of garden environments have been documented since ancient times. In the 19th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and recognized as the “Father of American Psychiatry,” was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals with mental illness.
Horticultural Therapy techniques are employed to assist participants in learning new skills or regaining those that were lost. A therapeutic garden is a plant-dominated environment purposefully designed to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature. There are many sub-types of therapeutic gardens including healing gardens, enabling gardens, rehabilitation gardens, and restorative gardens.
Therapeutic Garden Criteria:
National Garden Bureau and Sakata Seed America are now accepting applications from therapeutic gardens that meet the following criteria:
- Have a defined program using the garden to further particular goals for participants led by a qualified leader. Examples include horticultural therapy, occupational, physical, vocational or rehabilitation therapy in a garden setting. Or using gardening to promote positive social relationships within a community.
- Offer a nature experience/interface for the population served, including, but not limited to veterans, special-needs children or young adults, the elderly and/or those recuperating from specific injuries or addictions.
- Used for job-training, skill-building, or food growing for at-risk youth, veterans, or the elderly.
- Involve a large number of gardeners, clients, patients, visitors or students on a monthly basis.
Panel of Horticulture Therapy Experts
In July/August, a group of horticulture therapy experts will narrow down applications to three finalists. Those three finalists will then submit a one-minute video that will be posted on www.ngb.org. All involved parties will solicit feedback from the public, using social media, to vote on the garden they wish to receive the grants. The top vote-getter will receive $3,000, second and third place will receive $1,000 each.
The panel of experts to determine the three garden finalists are:
Patty Cassidy, Registered Horticultural Therapist, American Horticultural Therapy Association board member, and secretary
Barbara Kreski, Director, Horticultural Therapy Services, Chicago Botanic Garden
Julie Tracy, President, Julie+Michael Tracy Family Foundation/Growing Solutions Farm
Heather Kibble, President, National Garden Bureau, Home Garden Vegetables Division Manager, Sakata Seed America
For more information about this project or National Garden Bureau, visit: www.ngb.org and follow National Garden Bureau on Social Media.
National Garden Bureau, founded in 1920, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for home gardeners. Annually, NGB publishes and sponsors the New Varieties program and the Year Of The fact sheets featuring flowers and vegetables, including new introductions, which are especially suited to home gardens. National Garden Bureau has also taken an active role in supporting therapeutic gardens through fundraising and grants. www.ngb.org
Sakata Seed America is a major research, vegetable and flower seed production and marketing-distribution company. Corporate Giving is one important way that Sakata Seed America works to contribute to the betterment of life and culture in the communities where they conduct business. Through financial contributions, in-kind donations, employee engagement, corporate volunteering and organizational leadership, their goals are to educate individuals on the benefits of flowers and vegetables, provide products and services to those in need, and assist those who are working to better their communities. www.sakata.com