NGB, American Meadows and Sakata Seed America award grants to horticulture therapy gardens
The Learning Garden in Los Angeles, California, won a first-prize $3,000 grant.
Photo courtesy of the NGB.

NGB, American Meadows and Sakata Seed America award grants to horticulture therapy gardens

Tools were provided to each garden compliments of Corona Tools.

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After collecting thousands of votes from the public, National Garden Bureau, American Meadows, Sakata Seed America and Corona Tools are proud to announce the three therapeutic gardens receiving grants and in-kind donations totaling more than $5,000.

The three winning gardens are:

  • The Learning Garden, Los Angeles, California
    First place vote-recipient; winner of a $3,000 grant.

For over 18 years, The Learning Garden has connected the community with organic horticulture, hands-on gardening therapy and cultivation practices. The garden also has longstanding partnerships with the UC Master Gardeners Program and Yo San University of Traditional Medicine, bringing students and the community closer to nature for healing arts and education on the benefits of plants in one’s life. This uniqueness will be extended by the new Rootworks initiative. Rootworks provides mental health therapy to the community through garden-based classes and activities. Joining modern therapeutic practices and hands-on horticulture projects, the program gives participants holistic support as they overcome addictions – targeting root conditions such as anxiety, depression, and stress. The program offers an alternative form of therapy that invites client participation in a horticultural project that boosts serotonin levels, builds self-esteem, and positively impacts the larger community.

The Capper gardens include raised garden beds on a corner of their Topeka campus, as well as raised and flat garden beds in an inner courtyard. The adults served can participate in planting, weeding, and watering of the gardens each week. Pediatric clients observe the gardens while there for therapy services. A sensory garden will expand the therapeutic value of the courtyard gardens by adding specific plants and areas to stimulate all of the senses. Goals are: 1) increase the use of the garden area during pediatric therapies; 2) be able to continue the garden program during the winter using the raised bed on casters indoors, and 3) increase the number of people learning skills by working in the gardens. The gardens can be used to get more people outdoors to enjoy the beauty of garden spaces and to help them stay calm or decrease their anxiety or negative behaviors in a safe environment. The plants will serve as the foundation or context for the healing of the people served.

  • Allies, Inc., West Windsor, New Jersey
    Runner-Up; winner of a $1,000 grant.

Allies, Inc. is a nonprofit agency dedicated to providing housing, healthcare, meaningful employment, and recreational opportunities to people with special needs in the communities of their choice.  Since 1999, we have been enriching the lives of people with special needs by promoting their greater independence with dignity, respect and understanding. Project Grow is one of the support services that Allies offers to our individuals with special needs. The people it serves plant the seeds, maintain the gardens, collect the fresh produce and distribute to Food Banks in three counties. Project Grow is a community garden located on the campus of Mercer County Community College. Certified Horticultural Therapists provide therapeutic activities as well as gardening for leisure. Fresh produce and herbs are featured in nutritional education and meal preparation.

National Garden Bureau, American Meadows, Sakata Seed America and Corona Tools would like to recognize all of the grant applicants that participated this year. All are listed on the NGB website. NGB encourages support of these and other therapeutic gardens by the industry, local communities, and individuals.

The judges who read through all applications and narrowed them down to the three finalists deserve a huge thank-you. Those judges are:

  • Patty Cassidy, vice president of the American Horticultural Therapy Association
  • Barbara Kreski, retired director, horticultural therapy, Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Isabel Fuenzalida, culture & organizational Development, Sakata Seed America
  • Mike Lizotte, owner/managing partner at American Meadows
  • Nick Pucci, product manager at Bayer Crop Science and NGB president