I.A.H. Opens Medicinal Gardens

The Institute of Aboriginal Health and the Department of Family Practice have received a grant through the Healthy Workplace Initiatives fund to create indoor and outdoor medicinal gardens at the Family Practice admin offices as well as for a series of workshops and tours during the coming year.

The Institute of Aboriginal Health and the Department of Family Practice have received a grant through the Healthy Workplace Initiatives fund to create indoor and outdoor medicinal gardens at the Family Practice admin offices.

The Institute of Aboriginal Health and the Department of Family Practice have received a grant through the Healthy Workplace Initiatives fund to create indoor and outdoor medicinal gardens at the Family Practice admin offices.

There are several opportunities for students to be involved in this process. First, there will be a community consultation process with traditional herbalist that students will be able to participate in as volunteers during the process. Secondly, there is a research and publication opportunity for a student(s) with Family Medicine Medicinal Garden project. The opportunity would entail becoming involved with the project and developing a research project and publication perhaps as a directed study.

The project will use medicinal gardens as a focal point and will offer a series of 4 workshops lead by Aboriginal and other elders from different cultural communities, as well as medicinal plant experts. The workshops will provide an opportunity to engage faculty, staff, and community members in discussions and learning around cross-cultural perspectives on health and prevention; holistic systems approaches to sustainability and health; as well as, Aboriginal and other non-Western perspectives on medicine and healing. Harvest and one-year celebrations along with monthly tours of the gardens, led by volunteer DFP (Department of Family Practice) faculty/staff, will allow us to share our knowledge, efforts, and successes with other offices and departments within and without UBC.

The medicinal gardens, workshops, and tours will nurture and support self-care and preventive approaches to health amongst staff and faculty. To that end, we recognize that various international research findings affirm the positive benefits of having certain plants within an office environment in terms of workplace air quality and pollutants, productivity, absenteeism, as well as the psychosocial aspects, relating to mood, stress reduction, and an employee’s overall sense of wellbeing, among others.

Faculty, staff, and community members will actively participate as colleagues in every stage of the proposal including design; the organization and direction of workshops and tours; the synthesis and contextualization of discussions; the drafting of any next steps and options and their potential implementation; and the evaluation of the project, in its entirety.

Through a before/after study, we will also look at the relationship between workplace gardens and increased productivity and reduced absenteeism; as well as, changes in awareness levels, attitudes, and behaviors, both within and without the workplace. The Family Practice gardens will compliment those already established by IAH at the UBC farm; and may also prove a prototype that other UBC departments can model.

If anyone is interested please email Lee Brown at flbrown@interchange.ubc.ca

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