As spring approaches and the weather warms, The Ohana Center for Recovery looks forward to the second year of partnership and working with Sprouting Hope Community Garden. Born out of a need for persons in recovery from substance abuse to find purpose and meaning in life, the garden fills that vacancy. Juli Clark, Director of the Ohana Center, began using garden therapy nearly five years ago when she was filling the role of peer-support specialist for Cornerstone, a crisis stabilization unit and a division of the Mt. Rogers Community Services Board. Juli began taking individuals to the garden to get them outside in the fresh air. She soon realized that the people in recovery from substance abuse began to find meaning in working towards a goal, growing vegetables.
Over time individuals in recovery see their efforts pay-off. For some this is the first time they have seen positive results for working on a project. The individuals begin in early spring, tilling the soil and planting seeds and to finally picking the ripened vegetables and preparing a meal in the summer. This is part of the process of recovery Juli stated. “Recovery is similar to gardening; it is a process of planting a seed in good soil, and tending to the plant until harvest. Recovery requires daily maintenance, just like gardening.” For some of our individuals, this is the first job they have had since being released from incarceration. It is a chance for them to produce food and sell it in the local farmer’s market, providing them a modest income for their labor.
The Ohana Center for Recovery looks forward to weekly visits to the garden, bringing their clients and families to help out in any way they can. The center is also looking forward to being part of the Home Grown project this year, growing food at the center and providing food to their neighbors, many of them college students at the Emory and Henry extension campus in Marion. The center is also looking forward to selling some of the products from their own garden at the Farmer’s Market.
- Written by Rich Clark, CEO, Ohana Center