Here you will find research and information on Horticultural Therapy and why I believe it can, and will, have to be practiced on a global scale. At the bottom is a suggestion for Horticultural Therapy.


Horticultural Therapy

Horticultural (gardening) therapy can provide a calming, nurturing environment for growth on many levels and is healing for both children and adults alike. Skills developed from nature-based therapies not only enhancing the quality of life, but also establishing a deeper connection with the larger system that we belong to. By engaging in nature-based therapies, such as gardening, a child can develop an ecological identity at an early age, thus creating a more caring and stable human being and future. When dealing with plants on an intimate level, such as growing and tending to a personal garden, an intricate relationship of dependence is observed. This is a vital connection that has been lost in the technological revolution of the 20th century and it must be regained.

Community involvement is enlivened and people are brought together to share and sustain. Craig Chalquist (2009), an Ecopsychologist and psychology professor at John F. Kennedy University, discusses the positive ecological impact of localizing food by “decreasing dependence on chemically treated food products seized from exhausted, nitrate-singed soils and trucked or flown in from thousands of miles away (pg.68).” From the same article, A Look at the Ecotherapy Research Evidence, Chalquist summarizes three common themes from his research (pg. 70). These themes provide a fundamental basis for the necessity and implementation of personal and community gardens.

1. Disconnection from the natural world in which we evolved produces a variety of psychological symptoms that include anxiety, frustration, and depression. These symptoms cannot be attributed solely to intrapsychic or intrafamilial dynamics.

2. Reconnection to the natural world—whether through gardens, animals, nature walks outside, or nature brought indoors—not only alleviates these symptoms, but also brings a larger capacity for health, self-esteem, self-relatedness, social connection, and joy.

3. Reconnection also works across treatment modalities to replace a pathological sense of inner deadness or alienation from self, others, and world with a rekindling of inner aliveness and enjoyment of relatedness to self, others, and world.

In this space of sowing, growing, harvesting, and life there are lessons for our western society; a lesson of life and death, an acceptance of what is, and a release to the attachment from this material world. Bringing forth the interdependent relationship that exists between plants and animals is to facilitate psychological health and ecological sustainability.

No one nature-based therapy is better than another. By increasing psychological wellness through such practices the earth is preserved. To practice any earth-connected practice is to awaken to an earth-related self. I believe these practices guide us to live more sustainable for the health of the entire system, which includes both humans and nature.

Why should people grow their own food?

-The land is degraded and desertification is occurring at a rapid rate, along with top soil depletion. The agricultural industry here in California has to find another way of doing business and working with the land.  Food can be brought back to the cities, communities, neighborhoods, and individuals. We can stop relying on a false sense of survival from super markets, connect with the land, and revive the land and psyche from further disconnection.

 -An interaction with nature brings clarity to the psyche and opens the human consciousness to the transpersonal elements connecting nature and humanity.  Direct contact with nature enlivens the imagination in both children and adults. Research shows health benefits exist in the elements of nature for children, veterans, elderly, people, animals, and the entire earth. All will benefit from increasing direct experience with nature.

Practice:

A simple practice would be bringing a plant inside your home. Another would be to pot your favorite herb or a

vegetable that you consume often. What this therapy will cost: Pot $5, Soil $5, plant $3-$10. The high end

total will be less than $20 and there are less expensive ways of exploring this practice. Sit with the plant,

watch it, and/or talk to it. This can be done outside as well.