Healing garden at Jordan Park


ST. PETERSBURG — The LiveFree! Coalition and Local Food Park hosted a recovery month event last Wed., Sept 16 at the Jordan Park Community Garden to celebrate recovery and encourage individuals with a mental and or substance use disorder to seek treatment and achieve a healthy, happy life.

LiveFree! Coalition raises awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults in Pinellas County. By offering trainings, advocacy, town hall meetings, a Speaker’s Bureau, environmental strategies and awareness events, LiveFree! encourages Pinellas County families to live safe, healthy and drug-free

Mental and or substance use disorders can affect anyone.  The Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater is home to 188,000 people (eight percent) aged 12 or older who were recently classified as having a substance use disorder. Among adults aged 18 or older, 163,000 (7.7 percent) experienced a major depressive episode in the past year, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

“Our community must remain vigilant and dedicated to the recovery process by helping people address these preventable and treatable conditions, and support individuals in recovery, as well as their family members,” said Daphne Lampley of LiveFree! Coalition.

The LiveFree! Coalition and Local Food Park activities are part of Recovery Month, which is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This year, the non-profit groups will be observing Recovery Month by facilitating the creation of a healing garden. The event will gather community members to dedicate a keyhole garden to serve as a lasting reminder of recovery.

“It will be a unique element of the garden that we’re adding,” said Carol Smith, Local Food Park executive director. “There’s something really soothing and comforting about keyhole gardens. Thanks to their design, you can step into the center and the round garden bed surrounds you; it’s something people subconsciously respond to, like an embrace from nature.”

The dedication will foster a supportive community atmosphere, where everyone will help build the healing garden. The keyhole garden will incorporate various plants, like orange mint, spearmint, peppermint, lemon grass, lemon balm, and chamomile, which can be used to make an assortment of delicious, healing teas. The plants are natural remedies for physical healing, while the overall garden experience can be a therapeutic process, emotionally healing for all ages.

“It is important that the momentum we establish at the event is carried over to tomorrow, and the next day, week and year,” Smith said. “We all have the potential to make a difference and be visible, vocal, and valuable to help spread the message that recovery is possible.”

For more information, visit pinellascoalition.com or email us at livefree@operpar.org.

About Local Food Park, Inc.
The Local Food Project Local Food Park, Inc. – The Local Food Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit eco-agribusiness whose mission is to connect people to nature and healthy food as a catalyst for healthier lifestyles. The Local Food Project helps grow food, jobs and community through community gardens, community orchards, and other efforts to expand healthy food access. Its community outreach, education and training are focused on eliminating hunger, poverty, crime and social inequity. For more information, or to donate to support this work, visit our website at www.localfoodpark.com or email us at thelocalfoodproject@gmail.com.

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