Saturday 21 March 2015

2015 - War Veterans: Regaining peace with a hoe and pitchfork

Eduardo C. Gerding

for the International Review of the Armed Forces Medical Services

Horticultural therapy (HT) is a time-proven practice. The therapeutic benefits of garden environments have been documented since ancient times. Different organizations worldwide has been applying HT in war veterans with positive outcomes. The author proposes using HT for the Argentine war veterans.

Horticultural Therapy 10

Horticultural therapy (also known as Social and Therapeutic Horticulture or STH) is defined by the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) as the engagement of a person in gardening and plant-based activities, facilitated by a trained therapist, to achieve specific therapeutic treatment goals. Horticultural therapists are specially educated and trained members of rehabilitation teams (with doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists and other) who involve the client in all phases of gardening, from propagation to selling products, as a means of bringing about improvement in their life. 

The first modern documentation of horticulture being used as a treatment for mental health purposes was made by Dr Benjamin Rush.

In 1812, Rush published “Medical inquiries and observation upon diseases of the mind”, in which he described how people with psychiatric disorders who were engaged in manual work improved, on the contrary to those who didn’t carry out such tasks, who languished and became worse. His discoveries were considered to be so innovative that they soon spread throughout the United States and Europe.

Benjamin Rush (January 4, 1746 [O.S. December 24, 1745] – April 19, 1813) was a Founding Father of the United States. Rush was a civic leader in Philadelphia, where he was a physician, politician, social reformer, educator and humanitarian, as well as the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. His study of mental disorder made him one of the founders of American psychiatry

In Spain since 1806 agricultural activities were used for patients with mental disorders. 11

In the United States, in 1919, C.F. Menninger and his son, Karl, created the Menninger Foundation, in Kansas (USA). Gardening and the study of nature were an integral part of their patients’ treatment. In the 70s the first degree course was set up at the Kansas State University (USA). The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) was founded in 1973.

Horticultural Therapy has been a specialism in The Netherlands since the early 1970. Courses can be followed at the Utrecht Polytechnic.

In Great Britain, in 1978, Chris Underhill founded the Society for Horticultural Therapy renamed “Thrive” in 1997.

A working group "Gardening and Therapy" (Ak GuT) in the Cologne-Duesseldorf (Germany) region is existing since 1988. In 2001 members of this group founded the Association Horticulture and Therapy (Gesellschaft fuer Gartenbau und Therapie e.V. - GGuT).

In 1989 Herbarium was founded in Chile (http://www.herbarium.cl/somos.html). In their home page we can read:

The garden does not judge, does not discriminate by race nor religion nor sociocultural condition. In the garden we are only gardeners and the universe is our limit. We have the power of creation, we are part of the eternal life cycle. The soil, plants, air and water are our overcoming tools. No matter the age, physical state or language. We are all the same. What matters is the love with which we do our work of art: the garden

The Chilean Association of Horticultural Therapy was founded in 2006.

Scientific research

Agnes Van Den Berg et al from Wageningen University and Research Center, The Netherlands investigated whether the presence of green space can attenuate negative health impacts of stressful life events. Individual-level data on health and socio-demographic characteristics were drawn from a representative two-stage sample of 4529 Dutch respondents to the second Dutch National Survey of General Practice (DNSGP-2), conducted in 2000-2002. Health measures included: (1) the number of health complaints in the last 14 days; (2) perceived mental health (measured by the GHQ-12); and (3) a single item measure of perceived general health ranging from 'excellent' to 'poor'. Percentages of green space in a 1-km and 3-km radius around the home were derived from the 2001 National Land cover Classification database (LGN4). Data were analysed using multilevel regression analysis, with GP practices as the group-level units. All analyses were controlled for age, gender, income, education level, and level of urbanity. The results showed that the relationships of stressful life events with number of health complaints and perceived general health were significantly moderated by amount of green space in a 3-km radius. Respondents with a high amount of green space in a 3-km radius were less affected by experiencing a stressful life event than respondents with a low amount of green space in this radius.

The same pattern was observed for perceived mental health, although it was marginally significant. The moderating effects of green space were found only for green space within 3 km, and not for green space within 1 km of residents' homes, presumably because the 3-km indicator is more affected by the presence of larger areas of green space, that are supposed to sustain deeper forms of restoration. These results support the notion that green space can provide a buffer against the negative health impact of stressful life events. ( Green space as a buffer between stressful life events and health. Soc Sci Med. 2010 Apr;70(8):1203-10. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Feb 12.)

In another research of the same author stress-relieving effects of gardening were hypothesized and tested in a field experiment. Thirty allotment gardeners performed a stressful Stroop task and were then randomly assigned to 30 minutes of outdoor gardening or indoor reading on their own allotment plot. Salivary cortisol levels and self-reported mood were repeatedly measured. Gardening and reading each led to decreases in cortisol during the recovery period, but decreases were significantly stronger in the gardening group. Positive mood was fully restored after gardening, but further deteriorated during reading. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that gardening can promote relief from acute stress. ( Gardening promotes neuroendocrine and affective restoration from stress . J Health Psychol. 2011 Jan;16(1):3-11. doi: 10.1177/1359105310365577. Epub 2010 Jun 3.).

Another article by Ingrid Söderback, Marianne Söderström, and Elisabeth Schälander of the Department of Public Health and Caring Science, Uppsala University, Sweden revealed that Horticulture therapy mediates emotional, cognitive and/or sensory motor functional improvement, increased social participation, health, well-being and life satisfaction. (Horticultural therapy: the ‘healing garden’ and gardening in rehabilitation measures at Danderyd hospital rehabilitation clinic, Sweden-2004, Vol. 7, No. 4 , Pages 245-260 (doi:10.1080/13638490410001711416)

The American experience

Current studies have estimated that 20.3% of American active duty and 42.4% of reserve duty soldiers require mental health services for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). (Milliken, C.S., Auchterloinie, J., and Hoge, C.W (2007). “Longitudinal Assessment of Mental Health Problems Among Active and Reserve Component Soldiers Returning From the Iraq War.” JAMA, vol. 298, no. 18.).

Colin Archipley, a decorated Marine sergeant, and his wife Karen founded the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) program outside San Diego, California. Colin wanted to help other veterans heal their wounds through organic farming and to use their acquired skills to start agricultural businesses of their own. The VSAT program has partnered with local community and state colleges to offer veterans an intensive six-week course to learn how to grow hydroponic crops from seed to market.

The Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training Program has helped over 100 military veterans transition to the civilian work force with other locations on the horizon. One memorable graduate is Mike Hanes, a decorated veteran. He went from being homeless and unable to re-engage in civilian life to creating his own organic hot sauce, DANG!!!, which is now for sale at grocery stores around the country. 5

Patricia Leigh Brown published in 2011 a most interesting article in The New York Times called Helping Soldiers Trade Their Swords for Plows (The New York Times, Feb 5, 2011) (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/us/06vets.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

The Farmer-Veteran Coalition(FVC) executive director in California and organic farmer Michael O’Gorman says there is an agricultural niche that returning veterans seem to be uniquely able to fill. On the one hand, there is a shortage of young farmers in rural America; on the other hand, the support system and demand for locally grown and organic food are burgeoning. “The incredible sense of hard work, self-sacrifice, and service developed in the military is perfectly suited and immediately transferable to farming. More than 130 veterans and active-duty service members have contacted the coalition, and about 30 are already on farms or in the process of starting their own farms. 3

William Sims, a Vietnam veteran of the 101st Airborne Division who served from 1966 to 1967, started the Organic Therapy Program in Wisconsin. Mr. Sims was wounded after being in Vietnam for about 9 months, and returned home to Milwaukee. He was able to deal with the stress of coming home and experiencing combat by puttering around in his mom’s garden. The OTP program took 2 goals: reintegrating veterans into the world and improving their diets.

Howard Hinterthuer served as a medic in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. Returning from the war, he found solace by establishing various gardens in Virginia. Today, Howard works as a Peer-to-Peer Mentor for the Organic Therapy Program (OTP), a veterans’ recovery project that promotes healing through organic gardening.
Encouraging recovering military veterans to work in community gardens helps lift them out of depression, increases their self-esteem and even gets them eating better, says Vietnam War vet and gardening guru Howard Hinterthuer. 9

Gardening is important because it allows our veterans to have an optimistic experience. It takes their mind off of the injustices and bad things that have happened to them in the past, the things that have gotten them to the place of homelessness. The issues veterans suffer from are often chronic; additionally, many veterans are smokers. They’ll smoke and talk about their difficult pasts. But their tone changes when they are in the garden. It’s like magic. Gardening makes sure that they have positive experiences.

This is almost guaranteed by the act itself, as it creates such a peaceful place. Gardening is meditative and increases self-esteem. We are trying to assign raised beds to certain people so that there’s an increased sense of ownership. I think that there’s therapeutic value in establishing a pattern of responsible behavior.

Archi's Acres is a farming enterprise that utilizes hydro-organic technology to grow produce. Headquartered in Escondido, California (USA) , Archi's is a certified organic greenhouse operation, which grows living basil, kale, and other herbs and produce. Archi's Acres provides veterans a one of a kind world-class sustainable agricultural entrepreneurial incubator program, the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) program. 1

Military veterans on the Olympic Peninsula are healing invisible wounds of war by tending the earth. They are part of a trend taking root across the country called agrotherapy, which helps veterans not only overcome difficulties like post-traumatic stress syndrome but also gain skills to help support themselves and their families. War veterans find peace with a hoe and pitchfork. 2

The Veterans´Garden is 15-acre garden is operated by vets of the VA Hospital as part of the Horticulture Therapy Program. Established in 1986 as a work therapy program, the garden continues to run as a fully self-sufficient business, selling fresh-grown, pesticide-free produce to individual customers and several local restaurants.

AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press/Allison Love- http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2012/1011/Gardening-projects-change-lives-of-troubled-veterans

Stephanie Westlund published a book called Field Exercises: How Veterans Are Healing Themselves through Farming and Outdoor Activities. Westlund examined: The deep and far-reaching connections between nature and human health, The tremendous impact of stress and trauma on survivors' lives and Resources and groups providing opportunities in the emerging field of "Green Care". Field Exercises offers hope for veterans searching for methods to ease the transition to civilian life and recover from military stress and trauma. This book will appeal to millions of North American soldiers, veterans and their loved ones, doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, and other caregivers, other groups struggling with high rates of stress and post-traumatic experience, and all those interested in the human-nature relationship.

The Role of Therapeutic Gardens in the VA System 8

Therapeutic gardens have the potential to alleviate suffering, provide for recovery and therapy, enhance the veteran’s experience of care, and reduce costs. It is believed that these environments can serve the unique challenges of the VA clientele in the following ways:

  1. Stress Reduction and PTSD Treatment: The role of natural environments in alleviating stress responses is well-documented. Current research and funding has focused on “virtual reality” therapy. It is proposed that "natural environments” possess similar potential and could significantly aid in the treatment of PTSD of veterans, in combination with standard therapies. Research at the Alnarp rehabilitation garden in Sweden has shown remarkable results for treating a stress-related disorder termed “vital exhaustion” utilizing both natural environments and a horticultural therapy program. There have been reported cure rates of 80% for this intractable condition
  2. Rehabilitation Through Horticultural Therapy: Horticultural therapy already has a long tradition of assisting patients with disabilities. Therapeutic environments can be designed to provide a place for these treatments and services. In addition, therapeutic gardens can be designed for other forms of rehabilitation and physical therapy.
  3. Relieving Stress in Healthcare Providers: The VA, like many other healthcare institutions, has been struggling to retain quality staff and providers. Gardens specifically designed to alleviate stress in healthcare workers can improve quality of healthcare delivery and decrease costs associated with turnover—recruiting and training personnel.
  4. Therapeutic Garden Research: Many in the field of therapeutic garden design are adopting principles of evidence-based design, using scientific research results to inform design decisions. In the current proposal, outcomes research will be a requirement of the program, integrated into the initial design of the gardens. Design criteria will be based upon six principles of therapeutic design developed and supported by the research of Dr. Roger Ulrich. ( Ulrich. R. (1999). Effects of Gardens on Health Outcomes: Theory and Research. In: Healing Gardens: Therapeutic Benefits and Design Recommendations. Eds. Clare Cooper-Marcus and Marni Barnes. John Wiley, NY, pp. 27-86.) .

Healing Gardens: Therapeutic Benefits and Design Recommendations by Claire Cooper Marcus. Healing Gardens provides up-to-date coverage of research findings, relevant design principles and approaches, and best practice examples of or more and more people, the shortest road to recovery is the one that leads through a healing garden

The British experience 12

Gardening Leave is a horticultural therapy project that brings both active military personnel and veterans closer to nature. Walled-in gardens offer a sense of sanctuary. Inside is an open space with no hidden corners - nothing that could surprise or unnerve veterans, many of whom suffer from hyper-vigilance and anxiety. Together they dig, plant vegetables, prune or weed.Gardening Leave uses horticultural therapy to support troubled veterans on their journey to good health and their transition to civilian life. They offer professionally conducted, individualized, goal-oriented treatment sessions to maximize a veteran’s physical, psychological and social strength, and enhance general health and wellbeing.

The value of horticultural therapy is well recognized, particularly for people suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. Gardening Leave does not claim to ‘cure’ mental health issues but it does contribute to positive mental health outcomes. Our eventual aim is that veterans can either take up their own plans for the future or take advantage of other support offered to them by other organizations.

Gardening Leave has three walled gardens in Scotland and one in England. The latter is situated in the grounds of London's Royal Hospital Chelsea. The hospital, founded in 1682 by King Charles II to provide shelter to soldiers after their retirement, is a fitting location for one of the newest therapies for returning veterans.

In the last five years, attendees have come to us from a wide range of military backgrounds across the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and from a variety of ranks, from Private to Warrant Officer. They may learn to work in a group or alone, begin to think of other things such as potting out or pruning, improve their diet by eating some of the vegetables they grow, learn to cope with disappointment when a plant fails, or plan autumn-planted bulbs to spring up in a coordinated display. They may learn to deal with agoraphobia or have their first conversation with a civilian in years. Peace, strength and recovery can be found in the garden.

Wilma Landorf, one of Gardening Leave's horticultural assistants says that working with plants helps the soldiers recover basic skills which have been lost in the aftermath of battle. Learning to respect living things also plays a huge role in the healing process.

Sir Clive Fairweather , chief fundraiser for Combat Stress, said: “With my experience of the really damaged veterans who come to Hollybush for treatment, Hollybush deals with the deep hidden wounds and Gardening Leave is the balm afterwards.”. The men find sanctuary in the sprawling grounds the charity have leased from Auchincruive Horticultural College.

The charity were founded in 2007 by horticultural therapist Anna Baker Cresswell.

Pamela Smith, a horticulturist and trained psychiatric nurse, acts as a therapist for the charity and each day she gauges their moods and give them tasks to suit.

Veterans find peace from horrors of war in charity's garden -(http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/veterans-find-peace-from-horrors-of-war-1119952)

The Stovehouse is an 84 metre long Victorian greenhouse situated in the Ornamental Gardens at Auchincruive. When Gardening Leave started in 2007, the Stovehouse was in need of repair so in 2009, work started to bring it back to it’s former glory. Stovehouse Supervisor Hugh ‘Stevie’ McAulay’s (himself a veteran after 41 years in the Army) role is to make this happen so that we can widen the scope of our therapeutic activity here at Gardening Leave for our veterans.


The Stovehouse is an 84 metre long Victorian greenhouse situated in the Ornamental Gardens at Auchincruive. When Gardening Leave started in 2007, the Stovehouse was in need of repair so in 2009, work started to bring it back to it’s former glory. Stovehouse Supervisor Hugh ‘Stevie’ McAulay’s (himself a veteran after 41 years in the Army) role is to make this happen so that we can widen the scope of our therapeutic activity here at Gardening Leave for our veterans.

Benefits of gardening therapy 6

Physical action and green contact – Regular digging or weeding reduces heart rate and improves fitness levels including muscle (grip) strength, growing fresh produce improves diet

Cognitive – Outdoor environment is better for cognitive learning than traditional classroom; improved concentration; improved attention and memory

Emotional – Improvements in self-esteem through becoming a care-giver rather than receiver and through successful food-growing; reduction in anxiety & depression; safe release of anger & frustration.

Social – Providing services to a wider community reduces social isolation and working with others encourages teamwork skills, co-operation social interaction and communication skills

Diversional therapy – where people have something to do to distract them or fill their time as an alternative to doing nothing or spending time in a state of stress. Diversional therapy has many benefits, particularly in relieving hyper-vigilance, stress and depression.

Bobby, a British Gulf War veteran 6

Bobby Jones, 42, from Ayr, who did two tours of Northern Ireland, served in the first Gulf War in 1991 and in Bosnia in 1994, as a private with The Queen’s Own Highlanders.

In Bobby’s time, the response to soldiers suffering from trauma-related stress was too often “give yourself a shake, you’re a soldier,” said Heather Budge-Reid, chief executive of the charity Gardening Leave. It’s one of the reasons why it takes, on average, a forces veteran 15 years to seek help. The charity helps 400 veterans a year at five sites, two in London and three in Scotland, and would like to reach more. It aims to draw these lost soldiers out of their social isolation and help them start to tackle their mental wounds, by working in a garden alongside professional therapists.

Bobby has been coming to Auchincruive in Ayrshire since just after it was founded in 2007. It’s an old stove house – a Victorian glasshouse in the gardens of a big estate that was used to grow exotic fruits for the gentry. Now owned by an agricultural college, the building, glasshouse and small garden space have been restored by volunteers. Two full-time mental health therapists work alongside veterans who come to garden, learn new skills, socialise with other veterans and soak up the benefits of a green and calm space. “You feel safe here,” Bobby said. “This place helps me forget, the banter and a sense of belonging. I’m one of the lucky ones, having this place on my doorstep. It’s like a big oasis, a safety bubble. Being with the boys and not being judged,” he said.

Two-thirds of the ex-squaddies here will have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and a third with anxiety and depression, said Budge-Reid. “They suffer a lot from the idea of stigma; even if the wider public are starting to understand PTSD, the veterans have their own internal stigma. It’s a kind of survivor’s guilt, so there’s shame, huge shame.” About 80% of the veterans will have or have had a problem with alcohol. Obesity-related diabetes is another big health issue – the high calorific diet of an active serviceman doesn’t transpose well into civilian life, let alone the lack of cooking skills.

Tam Anderson, 42, served with The King’s Own Scottish Borderers in Northern Ireland and the first Gulf War and, like Bobby, he will never forget the burned bodies of the Highway of Death, or the toys and children’s clothes scattered around blood-stained houses in Kuwait. (Veterans find peace from horrors of war in charity's garden. (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/veterans-find-peace-from-horrors-of-war-1119952)

Budge-Reid beams at him. “We’re not here to cure them or to get them back to work,” she said. “We’re here to bring them back to life.”

There are many places in Argentina where you can learn Horticulture and Gardening with job prospects. We can quote courses at the Circle of Agronomists in Buenos Aires, courses that dictates the National University of San Martín through MAPP (Extension Program on Aging of the Department of University Extension UNSAM created in 1998), the Argentine Garden Club , the courses on the landscape gardens of Villa Ocampo, Municipal Professional training courses taught in the Municipality of General Pueyrredón , the Municipal School of Gardening Henrietta L. Deya in Quilmes, EMAJEA (Municipal School of Arboriculture, Horticulture and Applied Ecology Lomas de Zamora) Gardening Courses in Almirante Brown, gardening courses in San Isidro, courses in the Argentine-Japanese Cultural Foundation, the School Garden Villa Elisa, Courses of the Biosphere Foundation in La Plata, the Introductory gardening course dictated at the National University of Rosario, Courses at the Botanical Garden in the province of Cordoba. This last through the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences awards the title of College Technician in Gardening and Horticulture, gardening courses in Rio Ceballos, Courses at the Botanical Garden in the province of Corrientes, courses in the School Gardening No.13 Eea Resistencia (Chaco), Maipue Courses School Gardening General Roca (Cipolletti) and courses at the nursery garden of Los Maitenes (Bariloche, province of Río Negro).

Let´s see some of the main institutions.

The Argentine Association of Horticultural Therapy

The Argentine Association of Horticultural Therapy is an NGO which obtained its legal status in 2011 being its President Ms. Andrea Sucari. During 2013/14 the Association gave two years training courses at Ingeniero Maschwitz. Eight pupils graduated as Horticultural Therapists. In April 2015 another course will begin in Capital City at the Centro Enjambre situated in Francisco Acuña de Figueroa 1656.

The possibility of having war veterans graduating as Horticultural Therapists would have a multiplier effect because they themselves would teach other veterans who besides healing would become farm producers as well.

President-Andrea Súcari

Licenciate in Psychology Claudia Pesce of the War Veteran´s Health Division (INSSJP). She applies her experience and enthusiasm for a successful outcome of the project.

The Argentine Horticulture Association

It´s a nonprofit entity whose motto is In Agregatis Evolutio Maxima (Together we achieve more). Their President is Mrs. Sonia Benvenuto de Blaquier. Mrs Mariana Fortunatti and Marita Thisted collaborate with the association. It gives online courses of flower arrangements to Chile, Brasil, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Peru. 

Sonia Benvenuto de Blaquier 

This organization, besides teaching courses on Organic Gardening, Plants and Aromatic Flowers has a program called Green Action aimed to take care of the green spaces of courtyards and gardens, doing design work, pruning, planting and maintenance in hospitals and institutions of public good. Green Action requires volunteers (like war veterans) much as donations. 

School Gardening Juan O.Hall

The School of Gardening Juan O. Hall (José Cubas 3888, Villa Devoto) dependent of the Faculty of Agronomy, University of Buenos Aires gives various courses on orchids, bonsai, ikebana, floral designs, water gardens, hydroponics, nursery gardens, landscaping, production of trees and shrubs, bouquets and headdresses for brides, indoor plants and perennials, organic gardens, aromatic herbs, roses, plant health and edible mushrooms.

Part of what was English John O. Hall´s field, famous for its international well known orchid greenhouse is still preserved.. This Englishman was dedicated to the import and wholesale trade of tea and whiskey and had a great commercial success. He became in loved with the area and settled here. Hall was a loner, had no family (for sure marriage would have been a barrier to the orchids care ). Hall was an Anglican who converted to Catholicism, being a fervent believer to the point that enabled a chapel (that was the first place of public prayer) in front of his home in Havana and Bahia Blanca streets. John O. Hall died in 1936 and donated his fortune to service personnel and his residence to the University of Buenos Aires so the School of Botany could be founded.

Juan O. Hall School teaches courses on orchids, bonsai, ikebana, floral design, water garden, hydroponics, greenhouses, landscaping, trees and shrubs, bridal bouquets and arrangements, houseplants and perennials, organic gardens, herbs, plants health and edible fungi.


Hydroponics or hydroponic farming is a method of growing plants using mineral solutions instead of agricultural land.

School Gardening Cristóbal María Hicken

The School of Gardening Cristóbal María Hicken became operational on November 4, 1914 and still trains specialists. Located on the grounds of the Botanical Garden Carlos Thays in the neighborhood of Palermo (the entrance is on Avenida Las Heras 4078) is the only public school gardening. The career lasts six years in which students study about 35 subjects (there are more than 40 hours per week).

School Gardening Cristóbal María Hicken 

Director Professor María Eugenia Cuerpo 

Cristóbal María Hicken (1875-1933) was a botanist and Argentine professor. Completed his secondary education at the Colegio del Salvador and his undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, where he earned the title of surveyor in 1898 and doctorate in 1900. In 1899 he became Professor of Physics at the Nation´s Military College and the Higher Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary.

Hicken installed in a small town of General San Martin province of Buenos Aires, a herbarium and a particular library called Darwinion in 1911.

Carlos Thays Botanical Garden

The Carlos Thays Botanical Garden occupies over 7 acres under Directorate General of Green Spaces, Ministry of Environment and Public Health. It is located in Santa Fe Av 3951 and its Director is Agronomist Graciela M. Barreiro. Graciela Barreiro was awarded by the International Federation of Park and Recreation Administration (IPFRA) for her professionalism and contribution in the area of ​​park management. Graciela Barreiro received an international certification that recognizes her as a professional in this field.

The organization, based in Wellington, New Zealand, annually awards highly qualified specialists in the management of parks personalities. The director of Carlos Thays Botanical Garden is the first woman and, in turn, the first professional in Latin America, to receive this distinction. The Botanical Garden has two gardens: French and Italian style and three types of landscape design: symmetrical, mixed and quaint. The resort offers a collection of sculptures that evoke nature, history or music. The Botanical Garden dictates courses on Orchards, Composting Workshop and Cactus. They have many people working as volunteers. Its Director explained us the achievements these courses on older persons with disabilities, autistic children and probations. We have know the possibility of an offer for training Malvinas veterans who at the same time will be able to train other veterans.

Agronomist Graciela M. Barreiro-Director- Carlos Thays Botanical Garden 

The PRODA program in the province of Neuquén

The PRODA is an innovative program in the province of Neuquén which makes working the land, oriented to self food and strengthening the family economy activity. It has three main areas: attitudes towards work; ongoing training through courses and workshops; and rigorous monitoring of production processes.

The PRODA is a good example of territorial intervention that aims to work in all the axes of local development. Considering the quality of life of communities, conservation of natural resources, building sustainability, self-management and citizen participation.

Program development can generate human capacity for self-management to achieve community empowerment, environmental awareness and reinforce productive development.

Suggested reading: Farming for Health: Green care farming across Europe and the United States. Edited by Jan Hassink and Majken van Dijk. Wageningen UR Frontis Series. Springer.
  • Marie Arana-Urioste-Headmaster-Herbarium-www.herbarium.cl. Peñalolén. (Chile)
  • Asociación Argentina de Horticultura (ASAHO)-Mendoza.(Argentina)
  • Graciela Barreiro-Directora-Jardin Botánico Carlos Thays (Argentina)
  • Sonia Benvenuto de Blaquier (Presidente) and Mrs Mariana Fortunatti and Marita Thisted -Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura.(Argentina)
  • María Eugenia Cuerpo-Directora-Escuela Municipal Técnica de Jardinería Cristóbal M. Hicken-Buenos Aires.(Argentina)
  • Fundación Biosfera-Calle 16-Nº 1611-La Plata.(Provincia de Buenos Aires).
  • Ing. Agr. Ernesto Benito Giardina Esp.-Director Ejecutivo. Escuela de Floricultura y Jardinería Juan O. Hall. Facultad de Agronomía-Universidad de Buenos Aires (sede Devoto).(Argentina)
  • Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial.(Argentina)
  • Stephen Mitrione-The Veterans Therapeutic Gardens Project (USA)
  • Pamela Scutti. Equipo del Programa PRODA de la Provincia de Neuquén (Argentina)
  • Andrea Súcari-Presidenta de la Asociación Argentina de Terapia Horticola (Argentina)

  1. Archi´s acres http://archisacres.com/
  2. Kantor, Sylvia- March 19, 2014 , College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences - War veterans find peace with a hoe and pitchfork- Washington State University News-March 19, 2014. https://news.wsu.edu/2014/03/19/war-veterans-find-peace-with-a-hoe-andpitchfork/#.VKVDn3sma7E
  3. Kimble-Evans, Amanda-The Farmer-Veteran Coalition helps train returning soldiers to be the next generation of farmers. http://www.organicgardening.com/living/veteran-soldiers-become-novicefarmers)
  4. Leigh Brown , Patricia -Helping Soldiers Trade Their Swords for Plows (The New York Times, Feb 5, 2011)
  5. McEvoy, Miles-Military Veterans: the Next Generation of Organic Farmers. Miles McEvoy, National Organic Program Deputy Administrator, on May 11, 2012 at 2:52 PM http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/05/11/military-veterans-the-next-generation-oforganic-farmers/
  6. McVeigh, Tracy-The garden of peace: helping veterans heal the mental scars of war-The Guardian/The Observer, Sunday 30 November 2014
  7. Milliken, C.S., Auchterloinie, J., and Hoge, C.W (2007). Longitudinal Assessment of Mental Health Problems Among Active and Reserve Component Soldiers Returning From the Iraq War.” JAMA, vol. 298, no. 18.
  8. Mitrione. Steve- The Veterans Therapeutic Gardens Project, Associate ASLA. http://www.asla.org/ppn/Article.aspx?id=25302
  9. Redfield, Molly- Gardening-projects-change-lives-of-troubled-veterans. Nourishing the Planet October 11, 2012-The Christian Science Monitorhttp://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2012/1011/Gardening-projects-change-lives-of-troubled-veterans
  10. Righetto , Constantina-The story of horticultural therapy. http://www.growtheplanet.com/en/blog/better-world/article/318/the-story-ofhorticultural-therapy
  11. Simson SP, Straus M. Horticulture as Therapy: Principles and Practice. The Food Products Press, and imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.: Binghamton, NY. 1998. p. 150-9. -
  12. Veterans find peace from horrors of war in charity's garden –Daily Record- Apr 23,2012 http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/veterans-find-peace-fromhorrors-of-war-1119952