The healing garden was designed to promote the use of medicinal foods (vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants) to prevent and manage disease, as well as to promote overall wellbeing. Worcester’s inner-city residents suffer disproportionally from chronic diseases, of which diabetes, hypertension and obesity are most prevalent. For such communities, chronic disease management through dietary and lifestyle changes is challenging due to their burdening daily life struggles. The Healing Garden strives to improve community access to organic and medicinal foods by promoting year-round indoor and outdoor gardening of medicinal herbs and vegetables for everyday use and chronic disease management.
The outdoor garden is located on King Street in Worcester, MA, directly behind Stone Soup Community Resource Center. The garden serves as a demonstration of low budget gardening methods that suits the limited space often found in low-income, inner city rental neighborhoods. The garden team demonstrates how porches, windows, fences, and plant pots can be used to provide year-round space for herbs and produce. The team also plans to demonstrate vertical gardening methods. The garden offers free soil testing for lead and other soil contaminants often found in historically industrial cities. The garden team identifies commonly used medicinal herbs and plants, and get experts to demonstrate how to cultivate and prepare them.