A professional horticultural therapist from the North Carolina Botanical Gardens plans and conducts activity sessions to help participants achieve the following benefits:
- Physical health through purposeful exercise (level determined by ability), fresh air, learning about nutrition, practicing healthy eating
- Emotional health through stress reduction, connecting to nature, creative expression, successful outcomes with plants
- Social health through social interaction, cooperative enterprise, community building
- Learning new skills in horticulture and related fields to promote vocational and leisure opportunities
During the seasonal, 10-12 week programs, participants learn about gardening, nutrition, and how to prepare healthy food. Gardening also provides the opportunity for socializing and exercising.
“I came to the farm in the spring of 2015….I took to it right away and still feel a sense of relief when I arrive. Horticultural Therapy became a big part of my life when I was really struggling with my mental illness. It gave me a purpose and a place to retreat.” —Client, Horticultural Therapy Program
Transportation is available from Carr Mill and locations in North Chatham to the Farm and back with advance notice.
Farm Work Days
We meet as a community to tend to the current needs of the farm. Volunteers assist with planting, watering, weeding, mulching, harvesting, trail maintenance, and special projects.
Weekly and monthly work days serve three main purposes:
- Community-building – Everyone who comes out to help is considered a volunteer. There is no distinction made between those with or without a mental health diagnosis. This is a powerful way to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness.
- Sustainability – With a half- acre in production, a flock of chickens, a greenhouse, an apiary, and a walking trail it takes the efforts of many to keep things running smoothly.
- Education – Besides learning about the unique opportunities provided at the farm individuals can learn about sustainable agriculture, taking away skills they can use in their own gardens.
Weekday Work Day Schedule*
- Mondays from 4 PM – 6 PM
- Thursdays from 9 AM – 11 AM
Weekend Work Day Schedule*
- Third Saturdays from 9 AM – 12 PM
Please use our online volunteer sign up.
*Our schedule varies seasonally. Please check the sign up for upcoming work day times.
- Please give us 24-hour notice when signing up or canceling. We plan our work around volunteer availability. If you arrive unexpectedly or don’t show up at all it can have an impact on our staff.
- Wear closed-toe shoes, dress for the weather, and bring a reusable drink container, sunscreen, and bug spray.
- All volunteers must complete a Volunteer Information Form and a Visitor Consent, Release, and Indemnity Agreement.
- Youth, 17 and younger without a driver’s license, must be under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
Transportation is available from Carr Mill and locations in North Chatham to the Farm and back on Fridays with advance notice.
Michelle Morehouse, Program Manager
Wellness, Education, Leadership, and Lifestyle (WELL)
The WELL program is a weekly, class-style learning environment. The goal is to provide meaningful, wellness-based classes and activities for adults living with mental health conditions who are served by the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health.
WELL offers a schedule of classes focused on whole person health. Each eight-week session includes a variety of classes such as Yoga, Cooking, Art, Music, and more. Individuals should be able and willing to commit to attending the full, four-hour-day of classes at least seven out of the eight weeks. The class leaders and co-leaders include peers, UNC employees, and UNC volunteers.
- Each day is made up of three or four classes of five to eight students.
- A light, nutritious lunch is provided but students may bring their own if preferred.
- The class structure is flexible and students are free to take a break when necessary.
- Round trip transportation is available from Carr Mill Mall with advance notice.
Michelle Morehouse, Program Manager