How Vitamin “G”ardening contributes towards patient therapy at Lentegeur : a Q & A with The Spring Foundation
We recently chatted to The Spring Foundation’s director Meryl Smith about one of the foundation’s green therapy projects – The Lentegeur Market Garden – which sees in-patients from the Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital in Mitchells Plain, offered the opportunity to grow and farm their own vegetables as a form of rehabilitation.
Green therapy involves interventions that use nature to promote mental, as well as physical and social, health. It’s an excellent way to break away from daily clinical routines, enjoy creative work, and as Meryl explains “create meaning and purpose in peoples’ lives”. We’re excited to have produce from The Lentegeur Market Garden in your Market Box this week and look forward to the many more veggies coming to your box in future. Here’s more from Meryl:
Q: What has brought you the most joy while running the Spring Foundation?
The Spring Foundation fosters hope and meaning and it is a joy to see people start to recover when you give them a sense of purpose. The Lentegeur Market Garden project has helped to foster the discharge, with no relapse, for 11 forensic patients where healing was not considered a feasible option. The model of the garden is illustrating that if you create meaning and purpose in peoples’ lives you promote healing and a healthy society in general.
Q: Where do you wish to see the Spring Foundation growing in the next few years?
Ultimately we would like to see the recovery model of healing being the recognised treatment in all institutions, teaching clients functional and vocational skills to enable them to have meaning and purpose and a positive impact on those around them. We would like to have the garden as a sustainable green therapy project which provides a springboard for other projects and a role model for other institutions.
Q: How do you produce or grow your produce?
Healthy veggies are grown chemical-free by local farmers and in-patients from the hospital and all profits go towards enrichment opportunities for the patients and community, as well as sustainability programs at the hospital. We grow them on our 1.2 hectare farm and we focus on soil regeneration and organic farming methods. We also outsource from farmers in our U-Can-Grow programme who are also required to supply pesticide free products.
The Spring Foundation’s work is truly amazing – and we’re excited to welcome the team to the Market Box family. Want to know how to support the Spring Foundation’s green therapy work? Good news! In this week’s Market Box you’ll find cabbage from The Lentegeur Market Garden. Order your box before this Thursday at 10 am for delivery on 26 November.
A NOTE FROM THE CHEF:
Try this week’s Ginger Sauerkraut recipe.
- Core and finely shred 1 whole Lentegeur Market Garden cabbage and grate 1 thumb of ginger.
- Place the shredded cabbage and grated ginger in a bowl with 15ml of salt. Firmly massage the salt into the cabbage with your hands until the cabbage has broken down and reduced in volume by half, about 10 minutes.
- At this stage you can add some caraway seeds and black peppercorns (optional) for flavour.
- Layer the cabbage into a properly sterilized 1 liter glass jar, making sure that it is tightly packed down. Screw the lid on loosely and place in a cool, dark place.
- Check on its progress every day, making sure to press down any cabbage that is floating up and remove any visible mold from the surface. After 10 days, taste your sauerkraut to see if you like it, or if you want to continue fermenting it for a funkier flavour. Once you're happy, cover tightly and store the jar in the fridge.
Fermented foods are full of probiotics and enzymes that aid digestion – cabbage in particular is high in fibre and ginger helps prevent heartburn and gas.