Gardening, Recovery, and Opportunities for Wellness (GROW)
GROW is MHC’s Gardening Skills and Wellness Program
“Gardening, Recovery, and Opportunities for Wellness” (GROW) is a skills building and wellness program where we grow healthy food with our program participants across the state in gardens, greenhouses, and hydroponic gardens.
MHC’s goal is to improve the health, wellbeing and work skills of our program participants, while producing fresh vegetables, herbs, and plants for under-served communities in Connecticut’s urban areas. In addition to therapeutic benefits, clients get healthy vegetables to eat, and MHC can donate to food shelters and sell produce to help fund the GROW program.
People with mental health conditions benefit from connecting to nature and being responsible for the plants. As the creator of the GROW program would say, “You grow as a person with the vegetables you’re growing. The stability of a garden is healing as well. A garden is always there. It’s not going to question or judge you. It’s just going to be there for you.”
Gardening and “ecotherapy” programs across Europe and the U.S. have proven to advance the long-term health of individuals at mental health facilities, hospitals, prisons, and senior living residences. MHC is collaborating with local agricultural experts, Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), city leaders, foundations, individuals, local businesses, and other nonprofits to ensure our program results in measurable impact and healthy outcomes for the individuals it serves.
MHC currently has greenhouses and gardening programs located at our residential programs in Torrington, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Danbury, and Stamford. Danbury houses MHC’s first hydroponic garden.
Want to GROW with us? Contact Suzi Craig at SCraig@mhconn.org.