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Horticultural Therapy

Therapeutic Social Horticultural Program

The City Green Therapeutic Social Horticultural Program is a weekly educational / therapeutic program implemented with the formerly homeless and residents of a residential substance abuse program in Paterson. The program is implemented once a week, April – November. Through their work with City Green staff to develop and maintain on-site food producing and flower gardens, and their participation in Sustainable Landscaping Certificate Programs, residents are provided with opportunities to increase their social skills, their sense of competency and self-esteem and, to engage in productive, healthy recreational activities. 

Horticultural Therapy

The passive experience of a garden can improve health and well-being. According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, Horticultural Therapy is the oldest of the healing therapies and uses the relationship between people and the natural environment to affect human wellness. Horticultural therapy programs are currently operating in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, special education schools, mental health programs, correctional facilities, and many social service agencies. The focus is to maximize social, cognitive, physical and/or psychological functioning and/or to enhance general health and wellness.

Generally speaking, what benefits does Horticultural Therapy offer?

Horticultural Therapy…

  • Provides meaningful, purposeful activity
  • Offers versatility in programming for all developmental areas
  • Addresses innate psychological needs and connection with the natural world
  • Offers restoration and respite from mental stress
  • Encourages human growth that is fundamental and central to each individual served
  • Impacts visitors, staff and family members as well as participants

(From the Horticultural Therapy Institute,

City Green promotes wellness and healing through gardening at many of our New Ground projects.


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