Garden offers growth for women in recovery for addiction - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Garden offers growth for women in recovery for addiction

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When it comes to battling addiction, communities are looking for new ways to beat the disease. A garden planted at The Healing Place's Women's Campus is doing just that by offering growth in recovery through the plants.

For Erica Strane, the garden brings back fond memories of her childhood. "I used to love being in the tomato garden with my mom," said Strane.

It's not just squash and tomatoes growing in this garden. "I ran the streets. I didn't take care of my children and was consumed by alcohol and drugs," said Strane, who is part of the long-term program at the Healing Place, an addiction recovery center in downtown Louisville.

"My sister brought me here. The family kind of forced me here," said Strane.

Once at the Louisville facility, Strane discovered the garden, which is tended to by the women at The Healing Place under the guidance of Bethany Pratt with the University of Kentucky Extension Cooperative Service.

"Horticulture is a proven therapy technique and certainly here at the Healing Place you can see the enjoyment everyone has here," said Pratt.

Every day, the women head to the raised beds and green house to see how their hard work is paying off.

"If I have a bad day I can come out here and take a look at everything that's growing around and say it's going to be okay," said Jessica Powell, who is in recovery.

The vegetables, fruit and flowers in bloom help the women cultivate relationships, relying on others for help, by working as a team.

"The things that you plant out here, they're like little accomplishments that you accomplish every day," said Leandra Henry, who is in recovery. "I'm not so much thinking that I'm independent. I actually ask for help now."

The plot of land welcomes amateur and expert gardeners who are trying new things.

"Because if you can try a lima bean that's a little scary, maybe you can try something else that's a little bit more important than a lima bean," said Pratt.

Like the women here, the garden has faced some hurdles as well. It's built on an old parking lot, which means there's not much soil for the plants to grow. That hasn't stopped it and the gardens from blossoming.

"No matter your past, if you once were made of concrete, no matter those circumstances that if you work hard and put your love and compassion in, you're going to recover," said Amanda Hall, program director of The Healing Place's Women's Campus.

The produce picked in the garden goes directly to the kitchen at The Healing Place, providing food to the other women at the center. It's helping sprout confidence and self worth in gardeners who struggled with that in the past.

"Today I'm more confident. I have self esteem in myself. I know that I can complete things. I'm making goals toward my future now, and I'm complete (sic) those goals one day at a time," said Strane.

Now entering her ninth month in the program, Strane knows this year's harvest has planted a seed in her that will help her bloom outside of recovery.

"It just shows me that with a little bit of hard work, love and care that things can grow. It's amazing," she said.

The Healing Place hopes to expand this program to its Men's Campus. They'll also be offering nutritional and cooking classes this fall for women and their children.

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