Among the Green Work and Education Opportunities Proposed for Portland Area Homeless and Jobless Poor, Community Garden Projects are the Healthiest


“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds.”

–Thomas Jefferson

Let’s think of just SOME of the many beneficial effects of facilitating lots of gardening:

Helping others to live more healthfully — mentally and physically,
while improving the health of local economies,
garden 5while helping to re-green the earth a bit (local is better),
while creating improved food security and nutrition locally,
while creating community (a sense of belonging and improved self worth),
while reducing crime rates (studies prove it!),
while helping families to work together,
while reducing public health care costs,
while helping people to love the earth,
while improving our digestion,
while improving our thought processes…
The list goes on and on.
And  when it’s community gardening, the good health effects are even greater.

farmers market 2.

Here are just a few articles and projects which help confirm that


->   Whole Earth Catalog has a great article about some of the best community gardens going in California:

->   The Homeless Garden Project is this Committee’s model community. They have been written about in many publications, including: – (their own site) – (Corporation for National Community Service) – ( ) – (Community Television of Santa Cruz)

->   This University of Minnesota program is proving medical health benefits of gardening:

->    This ongoing Malaysian university study proves medical health benefits of gardening:

->   Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reported this study, again showing health benefits of gardening:

->   Holistic Gardener is right on! Lots of angles, showing health benefits of gardening:

->   The Quakers lovingly administer a gardening ministry – providing training and therapy for traumatized people in war-torn Bosnia.

->   National Garden Club reports on how nursing and rehabilitation centers around the U.S. now employing gardening activities for patients:

->   The Landless Workers Movement of Brazil has resettled over a half of a million poor people from urban areas without jobs to small agricultural acreages. Self-support has increased, health has improved all around, and crime and domestic abuse have gone down among participants. And note: Brazil’s is one of the few major economies still growing these days. Just one factor, but such programs do have a net stimulus effect:

->   Gardening for Good is an organization which facilitates therapeutic gardening in Massachusetts:

->  The Farm at Long Island Shelter, administered by the ‘Friends of Boston’s Homeless’ has has already housed, educated and transitioned many hundreds of (formerly) homeless people toward ongoing self-support. This program works closely with the Boston Public Health Commission and the  City of Boston’s Emergency Shelter Commission.

Here in Portland, we hope to see gardening opportunities offered along with shelter to as many homeless, jobless people as are willing to work. We hope that every church, charity and local government will offer our local homeless neighbors opportunities to dwell in well-supervised, green work and training-focused, therapeutic gardening communities.

This could be done inexpensively on public lands now held idle by our local governments.

Please write to us with more examples of how gardening is therapeutic!

Or to become involved in making green therapeutic community happen for a homeless person you know,  write to:

The GROWS Initiative * P.O. Box 3482  Portland, OR  97208

(Green Residential Oregon Work Sites is what we advocate for)

our old website:

think 'therapeutic community'
think ‘therapeutic community’
simple keys to better health
simple keys to better health

One Response to “Gardening Is Therapeutic!”

  1. Hello. I’m writing an article related to community gardening for growing homeless populations in the South, and I wondered if I might have permission to provide a link to your website as well as to include one of the images from this site (the painting of a community garden). Where and how might I obtain permission to do so, if this is even an option? Thank you for your wonderful work and inspiration.

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