Growing Hope with Southeast Produce Council

April 1, 2023

On a portion of our roughly 150-acre campus grows a garden rich with fruits and flowers, herbs and vegetables, all grown and cared for by children at Palmer Home. Established in 2022, the Hope Grows Garden was created through generous support from the Southeast Produce Council as a place for children to experience the healing power of horticulture therapy.

The benefits of working outside in nature and tending a garden are many: research shows an increase in social, educational, psychological and physical well-being. It can also ease symptoms of depression, anxiety and addiction. These benefits apply to survivors of abuse and children of all ability levels, including those on the autism spectrum.

“In the Hope Grows Garden, children can choose the plants they’d like to grow. They nurture the seeds and learn all about the life cycles of a plant,” says Director of Development Whit Lewis. “But more than that, there are a lot of spiritual applications to gardening that we teach the children as well. For example, even though we can’t see what’s happening while the seed is in the ground, and we don’t know if or when it’ll grow or how long it will take, God is working and bringing new life.”

As part of tending to the Hope Grows Garden, children’s responsibilities include weeding, watering and pruning the crops. The children can even sell their produce and flowers in the Hernando Farmers Market if they’d like and keep their earnings.

SEPC presenting Palmer Home for Children CEO Drake Bassett with a $25,000 donation

The children also love cooking with and trying new foods, which creates great opportunities to learn about nutrition and healthy eating. “The children are way more likely to eat a vegetable if they grew it themselves,” says one houseparent. “It becomes much more approachable and even exciting to eat.”

Thanks to a recent generous $25,000 donation from Southeast Produce Council, the Hope Grows Garden will be growing hope at Palmer Home for years to come.

About the Garden

The Hope Grows Garden sponsored by the Southeast Produce Council seeks to utilize the healing effects of gardening and horticulture therapy to promote healing.

The garden includes a number of fruit bushes, flowers, and produce which provide opportunities to cultivate growth.

To learn more about the Hope Grows Garden, click here.

Support the Hope Grows Garden

Help hope grow at Palmer Home by supporting this unique endeavor. To inquire about a sponsorship opportunity or to plant a flower in honor of a loved one, please click here.

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