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N4_APRIL | 2014

Welcome to the HORGANIC newsletter! Here you have the fourth HORGANIC newsletter. In this issue you will find an article about the training of the trainers that was held in Germany last February, an introduction to the three pilot experiences that have already started in Spain, Slovenia and Germany and, finally, an interesting article about the benefits of the gardening activities on health. Spring has brought the start of the HORGANIC course and we are very happy to share our experiences with you in this new issue. Enjoy the read.

This project has been funded with support of the Lifelong Learning Programme, Grundtvig sub-programme, from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein


TRAINING OF THE TRAINERS IN GERMANY FROM 17TH TO 21ST FEBRUARY 2014 The intensive trainers training star began by first exploring the socio drama based techniques implemented by Galabina Tarashoeva from MHC, Bulgaria. The experience was amazing and trainers realized about the great potential of using these kinds of techniques to improve social skills. The expert gardeners from CJD; Astrid Haendeler, Hartmut Haendeler and Roland Roehner introduced the structure of the units, the main content and the idea behind. The whole group had the opportunity to work in CJD’s higg quality facilities and which enabled the group to get an insight into the type of working conditions that they have to provide in each of their organizations. Some gardening units and most of the experiential learning sessions were implemented with the trainers, so they now have a clear idea of the structure of the sessions, key aspects, the main objectives of the training and the expected results. This meeting had a big impact in the German media: a press conference was organized jointly with a practical demonstration and newspapers like “Kölnische Rundschau” published an article about it.


STARTING OF THE HORGANIC COURSE

Spain The HORGANIC course started in Spain on 8th April with the participation of 12 trainees with severe and prolonged mental illness. The course is sited in two different locations: the gardening part is implemented in the village of Coreses on Tuesdays whereas the experiential learning methodology is implemented in the village of Toro on Thursdays, in the day center run by INTRAS. We have two gardening sessions in one day because the trainees have to move to another village and it is not easy to organize such a big group. Trainees are very excited about the course and, so far, they are very motivated. The first sessions have focused on meeting all the participants, the trainees and the environment (the garden, the greenhouse, the classroom, etc.). Knowing which tools should be used during the coming months and some basic information about health and safety is being crucial to achieve a successful training course. The Spanish HORGANIC trainers learned a lot of interesting things during the intensive training of the trainers in Germany and now it is the time to apply all this knowledge within the group. Undoubtedly, the experiential learning is going to be a challenge, as it requires a lot of time, patience, tact and group work. But we are sure that the methodology specially created for this course will be a very valuable tool to improve the social skills and thus the quality of life of our HORGANIC participants.


Slovenia We have already started our preparations for implementing the HORGANIC pilot training with the first evaluation of teaching units. So that the pilot training within each country is performed in a similar way, in February 2014 we also attended a training of trainers in Frechen, where our German project partner the CJD is situated. After getting acquainted with the environment, we found that the training would cover two professional fields, gardening and psychodrama, and would take place in a pleasant atmosphere. In Murska Sobota in Slovenia, we have got together a group of participants for the HORGANIC project who will be trained within the field of gardening. This group is very mixed and represents the different challenges we will have to face… from mental health problems, low intelligence quotient, lack of social skills, and all the way to poor written and oral comprehension skills. However, due to the fact that these are participants from rural areas, some of them have at least some knowledge of gardening, so training should not be a major problem. During the first days of spring, we have covered fertilizing, liming, milling, as our garden was ready for further work. We have equipped ourselves with tools and seeds, so we can start sieving soon. For this work we will not only use purchased tools and utilities but will try to find them within nature. Everyone is looking forward to the work that will surely take place in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. Our motto for the training is “to accept the knowledge offered, learn, share the acquired knowledge with friends and family, and pass it on.” Germany As the whole curriculum is already developed, the HORGANIC course has already started in CJD, 1 month before planned! The trainees are really interested in the course, in gaining new knowledge and to see how the plants will develop. Furthermore, as there has been a report in the radio about the HORGANIC project and some spaces in the gardening area of CJD have been marked as “HORGANIC areas”, most of the people are interested in what is going to happen. The picture shows the first meeting of the group and their brainstorming on teamwork and about the tasks that will be done. As the weather conditions are really warm with just a bit rain sometimes the plants are growing fast and are further developed than normal this year in the Frechen area. We will see in the next weeks how this will affect the implementing of the HORGANIC course, as we expect the plants to grow faster than planned in the outline of the course.


THE UNEXPECTED EFFECTS OF GARDENING ON HEALTH Gardening and horticulture are real therapies for our body and soul. Gardening enables us to rediscover and recover our roots, take some fresh air and enjoy the sun and nature. Taking care of a garden is a 100% healthy activity! Mental and body health Horticulture therapy could be used as an extension of classic treatment for people suffering from a mental disorder. Gardening reduces stress and improves mood. The nature environment helps to relax and make us forget the daily anxiety. A Netherlands study supports this fact. They proved that gardening help to lower levels of cortisol, the hormone related to stress. Also, according to some other researches, horticulture therapy may reduce the symptoms of depression, lower the risk of developing dementia, improve self-esteem and improve one’s control of emotional or behaviour problems. Physical activity For the people suffering from chronic pain, the elderly or people with any kind of disability, gardening is a perfect low-impact exercise. This activity makes all muscles work slowly and smoothly. Fresh food Horticulture is a source of fresh and healthy food. Also it is not surprising that gardeners eat healthier and consume more fruits and vegetables than the other people. Learning life Gardening is also a learning process about how to deal with the daily responsibilities. A garden needs a lot of care: planning, observing, budgeting, working everyday... Gardening is like life, we need to face a lot of problems but also we obtain a lot of beautiful fruits. HORCANIC is aware of the countless benefits of gardening. Put your hands in the ground is a therapy that has proven its effects. But HORGANIC goes a step further. Through this project HORGANIC also improve the social skills of its target audience. These skills will enhance learning and integration of this marginalized group.


This project has been funded with support of the Lifelong Learning Programme, Grundtvig subprogramme, from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Contact: Laura MartĂ­nez proyectos2@intras.es You will find updated information about HORGANIC project in http://horganic.intras.es Horganic

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