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Gardens give recovering addicts a positive outlet

MIDDLEBURY — The Turning Point Center of Addison County has created six raised garden bed boxes thanks to a Middlebury Maple Run grant and a generous donation of materials from Goodro’s in East Middlebury.
The gardens arelocated at the Turning Point Center off Creek Road in Middlebury, in the side lawn near the town recreational center.
The Turning Point Center’s mission is to offer peer-based recovery support to all people in our community affected by substance use disorders and addictive behaviors to aid in building and enriching healthy lives. The center offers a safe, friendly, supportive environment of healing and hope, free of substance-use. Though there are many options for people looking for traditional recovery meetings, such as 12-step programs, there exist fewer options for those looking to build community and support through social and holistic health means.
One of the most important components of building a healthy life in recovery is connection.
“Gardening is a great activity for people recovering from substance use disorder and addictive behaviors for several reasons: it is a hobby that can act as a distraction,” said Turning Point Executive Director Stacy Jones. “It is a useful activity that may give a recovering person an important sense of purpose and improved self-esteem, which is a critical element for maintaining recovery.
“Additionally, gardening is a physical activity engaging tactile motor skills. Research indicates that new activities are paramount in recovery,” she added. “Furthermore, harvesting the vegetables cultivated will provide an additional health benefit whether served in a recovery community meal, or used in a group where people in recovery are learning how to eat healthfully.”
The Middlebury Maple Run grant provided $500 in seed money to build the new garden program. With the boxes built thanks to some dedicated volunteers, Jones will continue the work of reaching out to local farms and the Department of Health to bring the gardens into bloom.
“The Turning Point is grateful for the support and is excited to add gardening and cooking to its calendar,” she said.
Learn more about the Turning Point Center and get involved by calling 388-4249 or visiting the website  turningpointaddisonvt.org.

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