Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Let's Get Growing!

A perspective from leisure services in care facilities and a rationale for gardening programs.

By Kathleen Mason
Manager, Leisure Services
George Pearson Centre
(C) Copyright: 1988

The mission of leisure service delivery in care facilities is to assist residents in developing a satisfying leisure lifestyle. Our delivery of services is based on a continuum approach which stretches from developing specific treatment goals through leisure education services with the ultimate goal of independent participation in chosen leisure activities. A gardening program fits nicely with this model of service delivery and offers many opportunities for recreation therapists to creatively adapt a program to meet individual needs. A gardening program can offer an individual opportunities for developing skills, creativity, self-awareness, and choices, all of which are key elements in a quality leisure services program. Our philosophical approach is based on enabling individuals to do as much as they can themselves and providing the appropriate amount of support and assistance.

At George Pearson Centre we have been both inspired and challenged by our association with the City Farmer group and their fresh approach to gardening. Residents, occupational therapists, recreation therapists and staff of the job development program of City Farmer have demonstrated to us the importance of sharing our knowledge, skills, and resources and this has been a rewarding experience for all involved. Although gardening with residents is not new to George Pearson Centre, the ward based approach, where the gardening takes place beside the resident's bedrooms, is proving to be a bonus in many ways. Nursing and housekeeping staff see residents gardening instead of the activity taking place in the "activity" centre.

Residents are taking responsibility for watering and ongoing maintenance of projects. Residents are asking to have a vegetable garden!

I would like to encourage other leisure service professionals to develop therapeutic gardening programs in their facilities and would be willing to share our knowledge and experience with others in the field.

Horticultural Therapy: New Options for People With Disabilities

Gardening With Disabled Individuals

Horticulture Therapy

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Revised October 27, 1996

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture