You can grow your own food. And we can help!

Horticultural Therapy: Plants and Life

In 2013 we started a Horticultural Therapy program for youth who visit CCYC, a secure detention facility, while the court decides their future placement.  The goal of the program is to enhance the skills and knowledge of gardening and plant-work while also empowering these youth to make constructive choices now and in their future.  We see the horticultural therapy program as providing a venue through which youth can learn about themselves through working with plants.

Last year we received the support of a local Eagle Scout in building 3 outdoor raised beds and used this space to explore plant-nature interactions and encourage the kids to learn about themselves through people-plant interactions.  We grew some well-known vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, spinach and lettuce, as well as some little known vegetables like sunchokes, peanuts, and beets.  Some of our garden space was dedicated to sensory plants like mint, oregano, and other herbs while other sections dazzled our senses with beautiful flowers.  It was a great gardening season, and we’re really excited about extending that learning process further into the spring months by making the plant connection from seed to garden to harvest.  We’re already doing that to some extent, but would really benefit from a better indoor light source.


Many of the youth that we work with have little or no experience with gardening.  For many, the idea of being able to grow their own food and have a sustainable hold on their foodshed is both new and intriguing.  I’m encouraged as I see some of these kids turn from the destructive decisions that brought them to CCYC, and turn instead toward gardening, which can provide life and health on many levels.  

Where it's at:

148 Paradise Rd
Bellefonte, PA 16823
United States

Garden type:

prison garden

Garden size (in square feet):


Garden beneficiaries:

at-risk youth and families

Number of people reached:


What this project needs:

gardening books
watering hose
compost bin

Project leaders:

Nellie Bhattarai
Jim Jones, Administrator

About us:

KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.  

Join our mailing list:


Connect with us:

Contact us:

Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA
(207) 956-0606