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Gardens that Heal: Two Botanical Gardens Reach Out To Their Communities

January 29th, 2012

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “All my hurts my garden spade can heal.”  Two extraordinary Botanical Gardens are using this idea to make a big difference in their communities.  They have created programs using nature related activities to improve the well being of those that need it most, and have inspired other organizations to partner with them so that people of all ages and abilities can blossom within a garden.

 Toledo Botanical Gardens: Toledo GROWs

If you ever visit Northwest Ohio, you’ll notice the beautiful lakes and may perhaps sample some of the local Midwest food.  But many do not plan on running into any of the 50-plus community gardens organized by Toledo Botanical Gardens of Toledo, Ohio.  TBG hosts Toledo GROWs, a community outreach program with an aim of offering organizational resources and technical assistance that help cultivate and sustain community gardening projects all throughout Northwestern Ohio.

You may know that community gardens help beautify neighborhoods and provide nutritious food for its members.  What also makes this organization so special are the partnerships that have formed to help sustain each of these local gardens.  Toledo GROWs has created a safe haven and therapeutic experience for at-risk youth, seniors, those with disabilities and families who want to provide a valuable service for their neighborhood.

A shining example of this is when Toledo GROWs partnered with the Lucas County Juvenile Justice System, and provided 100 adjudicated youth with paid employment, a place to learn new skills and gain work experience, and the chance to connect with positive mentors. Other youth-centered farms organized by Toledo GROWs are equipped with greenhouses, chicken coops, orchards, rain gardens, beekeeping and training centers, and are sustained with the help of children and teens.

 Tucson Botanical Gardens: Horticulture Therapy Program

Located in Southern Arizona, Tucson Botanical Gardens was once a charming family home with an extraordinary garden in the late 1920’s.  It is now an organization that offers more than just the beauty of its 5 acres of varying gardens and exhibits.  Juliet, the Horticulture Therapist along with trained docents and volunteers have worked with more than 40 different schools and agencies to serve seniors and children with disabilities throughout Tucson. Once a program started by a docent in 1983, the Horticulture Therapy Program maintains the belief that “persons working in the garden and greenhouse become calmer and more focused, need less medication and are more receptive to therapy” after becoming involved in horticulture therapy.

Members of the program work onsite at the Botanical Gardens performing seasonal maintenance duties from planting to harvesting the gardens’ fruits, vegetables and herbs.  Furthermore, high school students have opportunities to earn internships offsite at neighboring farms and gardens to further their gardening knowledge and provide a service for their community.  Juliet feels that there is a real need for these types of programs in her community, as those with special needs not only learn about gardening, but are also taught invaluable skills like responsibility and proper socialization.  When she sees children with behavioral issues switch gears and maintain a clear focus and excitement for building and maintaining a garden, it’s certain that the healing powers of the garden is something difficult to replicate.

 Do you feel your own garden has served you or others in a therapeutic way? Share your experience! 


About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease.  We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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Guest Blogging for Humble Seed

June 8th, 2010

At Humble Seed, we know that people who live sustainably or are interested in living sustainably through growing their own foods are knowledgeable on various subjects related to our philosophy of:

We believe that the benefits you receive from growing your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables from seed outweigh buying store-bought foods.

Whether you are an experienced gardener, a prepper, or an organization that is interested in growing a community garden, growing your own food from seed provides you with fresher foods, saves you money, and can help you maintain a healthy and self-reliant lifestyle.

If you’re an individual who [or you work for a company that] is passionate about topics that complement the Humble Seed philosophy and happy to share your expertise for the betterment of our planet, we would like to consider you as a guest blogger for our Humble Seed website. From composting to seed saving and heirloom vegetables to community gardens, we’re excited to help build awareness through great, informative blog posts.

Guest blogging is a great way for an individual or company to get new readership via linking back to your blog. It’s also great for readers, as they will get to learn about topics they’re interested in from fresh, new perspectives.

If you’re interested in guest blogging for Humble Seed please send the following information to

  1. Short bio that outlines how you fit in with the Humble Seed philosophy.
  2. Link to your blog or website.
  3. Topics within the niche that you are interested in covering.

Note: This is not a paying gig but more of a ‘sharing is caring’ blog partnership in order to promote sustainability.

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