Urban Farmer Inspires Health In Others
Photo credit: S:US
Valerie, a participant at one of S:US’ day habilitation program, is an S:US Urban Farms volunteer. She helps to grow many vegetables and herbs including mint (her favorite herb), and cultivates honey harvested from the beehives.
In addition to her accomplishments as a volunteer in farming, Valerie also celebrates her health and renewed sense of well-being through her steady significant weight loss. Valerie lives in a home not managed by S:US, where the staff who work with her suggested that everyone – individuals and staff – start to make healthier choices.
Staff at her residence thought that Valerie would motivate her house-mates with her inspiring spirit. Since becoming dedicated to making healthier choices, Valerie has become a pescatarian, stopped eating all meat, meat products, and dairy products. She now eats more salads, vegetables, and fruit, replaced soda with water as her beverage of choice, and walks at least 10 blocks five days per week at her S:US day hab.
She has noticed huge changes in herself. Besides losing significant weight, she reports having a lot more energy, having less pain in her arthritic knee, sleeping better and walking longer distances with more ease. She shares, “I feel good, really good about myself, really proud of myself because I have made these changes. I still want to lose more weight but I am taking it slowly by making healthy choices. It feels good to inspire others too!”
Volunteering and working in the S:US Urban Farms inspires her regularly to make healthier choices. Valerie shares, “I love to grow mint for tea and lemonade, cabbage, and collard greens, which are my favorite vegetables.” S:US staff members have both noticed her positive changes with an increase in her energy and stamina, and are proud of her for her active participation in choosing healthy choices.
S:US Urban Farms touches more than 500 individuals each year, providing therapeutic horticulture, nutritional programming, and employment opportunities to the individuals we serve – through workshops, field experiences, and our network of community farms and garden spaces.