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Category — Horticulture Therapy

Bessie, The Psychiatrist Who Finds Peace Of Mind At Stepney City Farm

Today the film goes live on ‘1000 Londoners’ – Bessie, Londoner #65

Directed by Ross Dickson
1000 Londoners
Feb 2015
(Must see. Mike)

“In my day job I’m a psychiatrist. There’s an overlap – sometimes when I’m at work and I’m with people that I’m supposed to be treating with medication and so forth, I say to them ‘have you got a local city farm?’ ” Bessie, Trustee at Stepney City Farm

Bessie moved to London from Adelaide about 20 years ago, and began working in social work with rough sleepers. She is now a psychiatrist and is also a Trustee on the board at Stepney City farm.

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February 12, 2015   Comments Off

Prison Garden: Gangsters, Swastikas, Tweakers and Permaculture

Neaners (center), Larry (far right), at the first garden site, during Neaners’ first month home from prison.

When you try to create a beautiful, sprawling permaculture garden with guys you meet in jail, it might not look like the glossy design handbook.

By Chris Hoke
Modern Farmer
January 21, 2015


When we designed a permaculture-style garden this last year, we had lofty visions. Our organization works with migrant farmworkers and folks we meet in the jail where we visit as regular chaplains. We seek out and serve the people society uses up or throws away — deporting them or locking them up in social dumpsters.

We already had the gang and drug recovery home, but this new garden would be a site of healing, healthy work in the soil, reconciliation with the natural world after years of trauma, drugs, violence and prison cells. Back to nature. Wendell Berry kind of stuff.

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January 22, 2015   Comments Off

Urban farming in Tijuana for deportees

Deportee Roberto Marquez helps with the Bordofarms project. Photo by Alejandro Tamayo.

52-year-old Roberto Márquez, said he was deported in June after living in the United States for 48 years, where he held jobs in landscaping and farming, but eventually was convicted of drug charges.

By Sandra Dibble
U-T Santiago
JAN. 17, 2015


TIJUANA — It was an act of civil disobedience, carried out on federal land off a busy Tijuana thoroughfare in broad daylight. For hours on Saturday, volunteers built boxes, carted dirt and planted seedlings in what organizers say is the first step in an urban farming project aimed at addressing the issue of homeless U.S. deportees.

“These people want to work but nobody hires them, they have absolutely nothing,” said Miguel Marshall, 28, a member of Global Shapers Tijuana Hub, part of a World Economic Forum initiative that encourages young people around the world to come up with projects that address problems in their communities.

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January 19, 2015   Comments Off

Theatre and organic gardening come together in Santiago, Chile

Gabriel teaches how to sow seeds. Colectivo Sustento market day 2013.

Establish an organic garden in two of the centres: San Bernardo and Calera de Tango

By Penelope Glass


Because theatre is not all we do. Colectivo Sustento’s work outside the prison is a constant development towards self-sustainability through organic gardening, community garden initiatives and networking. Through this work Gabriel, ex Fénix & Ilusiones, has been trained in organic agriculture for 2 years (thanks to the CSA* Farm Huellas Verdes). He is our garden expert, who coordinates the Sustento garden, and runs workshops at our market days and in community settings. He is the logical choice to run community garden workshops in the juvenile centres.

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December 18, 2014   Comments Off

Singapore: Aquaponic urban farm puts seniors to work

homefrmClick on image for larger file.

According to Spark Architects, its Homefarm part retirement home, part retiree-run urban farm concept would achieve food security and production sustainability, and improved health and community spirit among Singapore seniors.

By Stu Robarts
December 2, 2014


Spark says that its actual aim is to “generate discussion about the many potentials that can emerge from the mixing of two typically separate realms.” Specifically, in this case, it’s referencing the combination of accommodation and facilities for seniors with an urban farm. It notes the context that Singapore has a significantly aging population, growing city populations and imports over 90 percent of its food. The Homefarm concept, it says, addresses all of these issues.

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December 6, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture Training program for refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants to New York City

Zakyat’s friendships at the farm have also led to a job! Brooklyn Grange farm intern Allie directed Zakyat to Tribeca Pediatrics, where she will begin training as a medical assistant.

On two of the world’s largest rooftops farms, the Refugee and Immigrant Fund, in collaboration with Brooklyn Grange, runs the Urban Farm Recovery Project.

By Ellie Lanphier
RSF Social Finance
Nov 14, 2014


Zakyat left her native Togo in West Africa three years ago to join her father in the United States. Upon her arrival in New York she began attending the English Language Learners International School in the Bronx, excelling particularly in her math and science courses. She graduated in June of 2014 after three years of hard work and hopes to go to college someday to study biology.

Zakyat joined RIF’s Urban Farm Recovery Project in March of 2014, balancing her school work with her internship at the farm. She enjoys learning about all the different vegetables and says that the program has improved her confidence to use English.

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December 1, 2014   Comments Off

Hope Farms looks to make ‘food desert’ thing of past

Recipe for Success founder Gracie Cavnar poses with students at MacGregor Elementary School, one of several schools around Houston where students grow vegetables and learn about healthy eating. Next Recipe for Success will open Hope Farms in the Sunnyside area, where access to fresh produce is minimal. Michael Paulsen, Staff

“A major piece of Hope Farms is the job training, where we’ve targeted veterans, specifically with an inclination towards homeless veterans”

By Amber Hewitt
Houston CHronicle
Nov 6, 2014


Sunnyside is one example of Houston’s food deserts, where the nearest grocery store is almost twice as far as the nearest convenience store or fast-food restaurant.

Gracie Cavnar, founder of Recipe for Success, knew something had to be done, so she created Hope Farms, a food-access project meant to empower Sunnyside’s residents to provide healthful foods to their children.

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November 17, 2014   Comments Off

What the Doctor Ordered: Urban Farming

Community gardens in the Fair Haven neighborhood of New Haven give residents the opportunity to grow their own vegetables. Credit Domingo Medina

It’s not just the doctor saying, ‘You need to eat more vegetables; next patient, please.’ This is about really showing them how to do it and making them part of the process.”

New Haven Farm
By John Hanc
New York Times
Nov 6, 2014


This is hardly the city’s garden spot. Yet alongside the street, on a quarter-acre of land tucked between a muddy parking lot and the Quinnipiac River, a garden does grow; a lush, well-tended vegetable garden, where, on a recent Tuesday, about 35 people, most of them local residents, were busily harvesting carrots and kale that they helped raise.

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November 16, 2014   Comments Off

Toronto/Parkdale urban farming project should be expanded

Eugene Hennie and Amy Ness show off some of the vegetables they have grown in the Co-Op Cred garden in Parkdale.

An innovative project is a win-win for the disadvantaged: it provides work for the unemployed and produce for the local food bank.

By Catherine Porter
Toronto Star
October 19, 2014


Eugene Hennie rushed between the towering buildings of South Parkdale, Amy Ness and me trailing behind.

He had an important meeting to go to.

I’d have to visit the garden quick.

Their Thanksgiving harvest was more than a week ago. These were the hardy fall leftovers — some straggly eggplants, a few overgrown Brussels sprouts.

“You should have seen it two weeks ago,” Hennie said breathlessly. “There were tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers. Oh, it was beautiful. Seeing those plants grow from seed — it was like I was growing.”

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October 25, 2014   Comments Off

The allotment that helps abused and neglected children thrive in Hartlepool, UK

Teenagers help transform Hartlepool Team 34 allotment. Photograph: Kelly Henderson

A team of unemployed teenagers has transformed an abandoned allotment into an oasis with chickens, courgettes and hedgehogs for children and young adults in care

By Maria Evrenos
19 September 2014


The garden, which has been nicknamed A Lot O’ Love, she believes, will be a crucial place for foster children and parents to meet and talk about their experiences. “There is one individual who comes who is quite a troubled young man, and I know for a fact that when his foster carer brings him along it’s making a difference for them as well as him. If he wasn’t coming here, he’d likely to be at home causing havoc. He’s learning by coming here that actions have consequences. If he’s playing up they say that he can’t go to the allotment. They’re using it as a carrot rather than saying ‘you’re grounded’.”

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October 3, 2014   Comments Off

Young volunteers ‘excluded’ from working at City Farm in London

kidsdisShola Fellows and Claudia Cruz at the Farm Family protest.

30 children and young people with disabilities looked after animals at Brooks Farm

By Natalie Glanvill
This is Local London
19th August 2014


A group of young volunteers, which has helped out at a city farm for 30 years, will not be allowed to work there after it changed hands, it has emerged.

The ‘Farm Family’, which includes about 30 children and young people with disabilities, or those at risk of getting involved in crime, looked after animals at Brooks Farm in Skeltons Lane Park, Leyton, when it was managed by Waltham Forest council.

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August 26, 2014   Comments Off

Volunteers grow food for city’s needy on Wards Island farm, New York City

Kadeesha Williams harvests beets on June 12, 2014 where farmers work at a large urban farm at HELP USA’s Supportive Employment Center on Ward’s Island. Photo by Jeremy Bales.

“My father was a vegetable farmer, so we grew a garden both in our yard and in community gardens. I am also an artist and I like this combination of art and farming. It’s a lifestyle.”

By Maria Alvarez
June 15, 2014


On Wards Island sits the city’s largest urban farm — an acre-plus plot of land where 8,000 pounds of vegetables, herbs and fruit are harvested each year.

The farm grows a bounty of produce — Chinese mugwort herbs, pea shoots, apples, apricots and cherries — that would be familiar to shoppers in Manhattan markets catering to the city’s wealthy and those serving the working class.

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June 25, 2014   Comments Off

The Garden Project Kicks off First Pilot Program in Korea

A pilot program taking cue from the “therapeutic gardening” has been unveiled in Korea. (image: The Garden Project).

Offering mind-healing programs for senior citizens, children, and the handicapped

By Lina Jang
Korea Bizware
June 16, 2014


The Garden Project announced last week that the world’s famous “garden project” will be up and running across the nation after four years of preparation to introduce the program. The organization had begun the first program for patients with Alzheimer’s on April 18.

The project was intended to help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease while supplying fresh chemicals-free produce to local communities and educating youths — who are exposed to high levels of fast food and sugary diet — the importance of eating healthy and local foods.

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June 24, 2014   Comments Off

Physically Challenged Farmer is an Inspiration

Hear Chris’ extraordinary story

Film by John Chester
May 25, 2014

Everyone knows farming requires hard physical labor. While Apricot Lane Farms has a lot of excellent farmhands, none have been as memorable as Chris.

See more of Apricot Lane Farms.

June 3, 2014   Comments Off

From the Battlefield to the Urban Farm in Dallas

James Jeffers tilling the soil in the community garden. Photo by Amy Smith.

How Two Iraq War Vets took to the earth to work through their emotional and physical scars after combat — “dirt therapy,” they called it. Their gardening hobby turned into a bona fide urban farm.

By Hilary Hylton
Appears in National Service
May 13, 2014


It was around the firepit that Smith and Jeffers came up with an enduring plan. They wanted to share their enthusiasm for gardening and their passion for fresh, locally produced food with a wider audience. So they decided to try to scale up their home growing efforts and launch a real urban farm. They used every square inch of their own land for planting, and supplemented it with community gardens around town, friends’ yards and rooftop planters — all told, about an acre of harvestable land, growing Swiss chard, tomatoes and kale.

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May 26, 2014   Comments Off