The Healing Power of Farming at CooperRiis
This time of year, the Farm Campus of CooperRiis — a residential healing community for adults struggling with mental illness — is really buzzing.
Community Works Together
Staff and residents work together tending gardens and greenhouses, growing beautiful bounties of seasonal organic produce, plants and flowers. While it’s a year-round operation, summer is the peak of production, a time for juicy heirloom tomatoes, bright and flavorful peppers, sweet corn, crunchy root vegetables, aromatic herbs and cheery bouquets of zinnias.
The crew uses best practices to cultivate and sustain the gardens and grow the healthiest organic food possible. Annually, our gardens supply approximately four tons of produce to the kitchens on the two campuses of CooperRiis, providing the freshest ingredients for the delicious and healthy meals prepared and served in our dining halls three times a day.
The Garden Crew
The Garden Crew is one of a half-dozen crews that make up our Community Work & Service program, which matches residents with on-campus work opportunities that contribute to daily life at CooperRiis. Rooted in the healing power of social engagement and playing an active role in one’s community, the CWS program is an integral part of the transformative approach to mental health recovery at CooperRiis.
Working in crews alongside their peers and a leader from the staff, residents dedicate 20 hours a week to purposeful work, cultivating healthy workplace skills and behavior, and practicing teamwork. They can choose work that inspires and best matches their interests, including growing and preparing the food served in our dining halls, caring for the farm’s animals, building and repairing furniture for our lodges or houses, landscaping and gardening our grounds, drum building, or creating art.
CWS is an important time of transition for our residents, and a big step on the path to mental health recovery. Mental Health America agrees that finding meaningful and purposeful work will expand your sense of self-worth along your journey of recovery.
We’d love to tell you more about CooperRiis and how our Community Work & Service program can make a difference in the lives of your patients or clients. Please contact us for more information, to schedule a tour of our campuses, or to request a visit from a CooperRiis representative.