March 22, 2018
( Chester NJ) – Horticultural Therapy Week in New Jersey celebrated at Alstede Farms in Morris County on Tuesday March 20. Recognizing the benefits of the people-plant connection were New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher, Horticultural Therapist Laura DePrado, Barbara Alstede of Alstede Farms and team members, along with community leaders.
Secretary Fisher presented Proclamation from Governor Phil ip Murphy noting “The therapeutic benefits of a garden environment to improve the quality of life of program participants, and the social, vocational and therapeutic programs that enable individuals to experience independence and achievement, increasing their sense of dignity as they increase their ability to function in various settings, such as hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and senior centers.”
“Horticultural Therapy is a growing phenomenon in New Jersey which fosters participation in activities that enhance awareness of the connection between people and plants,” Fisher said.
New Jersey is the first state in the nation to designate the third week of March “Horticultural Therapy Week” every year since 2015. National Horticultural Therapy Week was established by Congress for the year 2006.
Alstede Farms provided guests the opportunity to experience a hands on planting activity using herbs, lettuces and flower containers. Laura DePrado demonstrated the benefits of horticultural therapy which utilizes physical, social, psychological, cognitive, emotional and sensory stimulation, while building life skills, and community engagement. The Alstede Farms team led the group on walk-through tour of the greenhouses, irrigation systems and seed starting. A shuttle tour showcased the many facets of the farm including more than 300 acres of fruit and vegetable plantings.
Alstede Owner and Special Projects Manager Barb Alstede shared, “Alstede Farms is honored to participate in celebrating “Horticultural Therapy Week” and the value of people and plants for health and well-being through horticultural therapy and the many communities that “HT” serves.”
Horticultural Therapy Week, March 18-24, celebrates the people-plant connection through the benefits of Horticultural Therapy as a time-proven practice, under the direction of horticultural therapists, as part of a treatment team.
Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholder Mark Caliquire said, “There are a lot of our friends and neighbors in New Jersey who are hurting emotionally and physically, and horticultural therapy is a proven way for many people to find some level of healing through participating in a therapeutic activity.”
Laura DePrado’s article, “Raising Awareness of Horticultural Therapy through the Roots of New Jersey Agriculture” in the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture, was cited by Congressman Lance in Somerset County on March 13th for contribution to growing awareness.