A New Greenhouse to Support Addiction Treatment

Many forms of exercise can help reduce stress, and that includes gardening. “It’s been shown to lighten mood and lower levels of stress and anxiety. It’s very gratifying to plant, tend, harvest, and share your own food,” wrote Lisa Wimmer for Mayo Clinic Health System in 2022. “Routines provide structure to our day and are linked to improved mental health. Gardening routines, like watering and weeding, can create a soothing rhythm to ease stress.”

In a 2022 study published in the journal PLOS ONE, University of Florida scientists confirmed that gardening activities lowered stress, anxiety, and depression in healthy women who attended twice-weekly gardening classes. None of the study participants had gardened before.

Gardening is more than just exercise. In his 2018 book Lost Connections, in which he sought to uncover “the real causes” of depression, Johan Hari explained that “The biologist E. O. Wilson—one of the most important people in his field in the twentieth century—argued that all humans have a natural sense of something called ‘biophilia.’ It is an innate love for the landscape in which humans have lived for most of our existence, and for the natural web of life that surrounds us and makes our existence possible.” Among nine causes of depression and anxiety, Hari listed being “disconnected from the natural world” in the book.

Gardening in a greenhouse recreates a natural environment on a much smaller scale while retaining some of the health benefits. Harmony has long utilized a holistic approach to healing trauma and addiction and is now adding another element to that approach. Thanks to a generous donation offered by Matt and Michele Hoovler from Golden, Colorado, Harmony will be able to build a new greenhouse this year to allow clients to take care of the plants as part of their recovery process. 

“The Hoovlers wanted to be part of the Harmony Family,” says Harmony’s director of development Michael Maassel. “They wanted to provide something that’s sustainable for many years to come as a benefit to clients and staff. Their wonderful donation illustrates Harmony’s positive impact in the wider community.”

The new greenhouse will be fully functional all year round. Working with the plants will facilitate a therapeutic reconnection with nature for clients. “It symbolizes planting the roots of your recovery,” says Maassel who is in recovery herself. “Making things grow involves aspects of patience and love. It’s a spiritual endeavor. Vegetables grown in the greenhouse will make their way to the kitchen, giving the people who grew them an important sense of accomplishment. It will help people reinvigorate their sense of purpose.”

Harmony Foundation can look back on more than 50 years of excellence in treating substance use disorder (SUD) in a residential setting. A lot of improvements have been implemented over the years, and we now offer treatment in gender-specific settings by trauma-informed staff. Our treatment program promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, empowering patients to embark upon a lifelong journey of recovery.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction or have questions about our programs, call us today at (970) 432-8075 to get the help needed as soon as possible. Our experienced staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you would like to donate to Harmony, it’s easy. Our Give Freely campaign directly helps to impact the lives of those who need it. Every donation, no matter how big or small, makes a difference.