Kitchen Garden Programs and Changing Brains

Writing in The Neuropsychotherapist, Karen Ferry says:

“Neuroscience research advocates the necessity of children spending time away from artificial light and outdoors, stating fresh air and sunshine are vital elements to enhance brain development and help balance brain functions (Laakso, Porkka-Heiskanen, Alila, Peder, & Johansson, 1988; Nedley, 2009. Along with being outside is the importance of exercise, which is vital for the production of essential neurochemicals that assist with stress reduction, positive mood, sleep hygiene, and general well-being (Henson & Rossouw, 2012; Kendler, 1996; Nedley, 2009).

“While there is enjoyment and satisfaction in growing fresh produce, it is the ability to maintain a safe, nurturing, and affirming environment that contributes to the positive emotional experience for the children. … This is especially relevant in the case of children who have experienced abuse, and who often struggle to connect with others and build trusting relationships as a result …”

Due to the success of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program (see Alexander, 2009; Block et al., 2012; Brien, 2014), it was hypothesised that a similar program could be beneficial in a therapeutic day program to enhance the mental and physical health of children currently in foster care who have experienced abusive trauma. The aim of the study was to determine the usefulness and reliability of such a program in terms of the behaviours and emotional regulation of children who have a predisposition to heightened behaviours when memories are triggered …”

Read more here.

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