Therapeutic Food Garden at BC Children and Women’s Hospital
The overall goal of this project is to develop the therapeutic food garden on the premises of BC Children’s and Women’s Hospital (C&W Hospital) to support patients to achieve better health.
The aims of this community food security project are to:
Connect patients to healthy food by growing fruit and vegetables and incorporating the produce into cooking sessions and existing hospital menus.
Maintain a garden to provide a space for patients, families and staff to experience the therapeutic benefits of gardening and the outdoors while at the hospital.
Provide guided garden sessions with therapeutic benefit and skill development for patients.
Build capacity amongst staff to maintain the garden and to integrate concepts of therapeutic horticulture into their practice.
The Environmental Youth Alliance (EYA) has been collaborating with the Provincial Health Services Authority and Children’s and Women’s Mental Health Program in Vancouver to build a therapeutic food garden program. The garden was installed in spring 2013 and funded for one year.
EYA is a Vancouver based non-profit charity. EYA has been facilitating environmental programming and garden development since 1991. Staff at EYA coordinate the implementation of the goals for the therapeutic food garden and facilitation of specialized garden sessions.
The clinical programs participating in this project serve patients – children, youth and adults – who have diagnosed illness due to unhealthy relationship to food and/or live with psychiatric disorders and addictions. Research has shown that children, youth and adults that grow their own food eat better. Research has also shown that gardening has health benefits, particularly for people living with mental illness. Through playful interactions with people, natural objects, and fresh foods, children learn in ways that stimulate the mind, body, and spirit.
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.
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