SUNSHINE GARDEN AND MARKET
The Sunshine Garden is a year-round therapeutic and recreational organic gardening program that is designed to enhance the well-being and transform the lives of those affected by mental health and addiction issues.
This innovative project is run by FoodShare, Canada’ s largest food security organization in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) located in Toronto. The Sunshine Garden program is open to both in-patients and out-patients of CAMH on a volunteer basis and includes hospital clients from a wide spectrum of CAMH including Law and Mental Health, Mood Disorders, Addictions and the partial hospitalization program for Schizophrenia.
In summer, participants grow a wonderful variety of ethnically diverse organic vegetables, herbs and native plants, they compost food and garden waste and learn cooking and canning skills to preserve and enjoy the harvest. In winter, participants work in the onsite greenhouse where they raise seedlings, do vermicomposting and grow microgreens. Participants, many of whom are unable to work because of chronic mental health issues, report strong, positive and enduring benefits, not least of which is improved food security and improved nutrition. In 2013, volunteers learned to grow and harvest over 500 pounds of organic fruit and vegetables both for their own consumption and for sale to the wider community.
The program has a successful and well-documented track record of improving participants’ overall quality of life, developing their resilience and recovery, building empowerment and self-esteem, reducing social isolation by expanding valuable social connections and helps participants to maintain their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. As one client reflected “ Work in the garden takes priority over interacting with my symptoms…it’s a kind of medicine…to be outside caring for plants, harvesting, weeding and seeding in the greenhouse.” This grant would help us continue to transform lives through the Sunshine Garden.
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:
Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA