As a social worker by day (writing wizard of imagination by night) I’ve seen and heard stories of varying health problems. Medical diagnosis that break a family apart or bind them together. Nothing is ever a happy story, only bad. Yet when I heard about the local branch of The Cancer Treatment Centers of America and what they were doing I was warmed with happiness. TCTC of America in Goodyear, Arizona has a cafeteria that gets their vegetables from their backyard. That’s right! Directly behind the hospital is farmland where Hope Springs Organic Farm grows veggies (organic) year around, which are used in the hospital’s cafeteria. (The leftovers go to local farmers markets.) Not only that, but some patients participate in planting seeds in the field as part of their therapy. TCTC in Goodyear is not alone. Long Island’s Stony Brook University Hospital and Michigan’s St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital also have farms on their properties.
And don’t laugh at planting therapy happening at the TCTC. I have heard first hand from people I meet with that their pills don’t work, or have horrible side effects, and that therapy was what was working. Yet many therapies are only covered for 10-15 sessions by personal insurance. I recently saw The MELT Method exercises to help those with chronic pain. It is nice to see the shift away from medication to other approaches to heal and help.