Insight Garden Program


According to research on people-plant relationships and horticultural therapy, the act of caring for plants includes the qualities of responsibility, empathy and discipline that also transfer to the interpersonal realm. By growing plants, people also grow. The act of nurturing nature can strike a “deeply personal chord” with the grower.

As Carl Lewis, a premier researcher on the topic stated: “The strength of gardening lies in nurturing. Caring for another living entity is a basic quality of being human.” [1] From a theoretical perspective, “…interaction with nature is important for effective mental functioning, such as learning new information, performing complex tasks, or problem solving.” [2] Time outside offers a sense of balance and pride, can increase attention spans, foster creativity and lead to a renewed sense of community re-engagement.

Gardening in a variety of community settings—and the changes that occur to the community when the garden has been planted and maintained— has been studied extensively in urban low-income housing areas, school communities, and in some prisons.

[1] Lewis, C.A. (1992). Effects of plants and gardening in creating interpersonal and community well-being. In D. Relf (Ed.), The role of horticulture in human well-being and social development: A national symposium (pp. 57). Portland, OR; Timber.

[2] Greening Healthcare: Practicing as if the Environment Really Mattered (Irvine and Warber), Alternative Therapies, Sept/Oct 2002. Vol. 8. No. 5, p. 7