Welcome to the Horticultural Therapy Partnership (HTP) website, designed by the Horticultural Society of New York to advance the practice of using horticulture for therapeutic purposes.

Organizations interested in developing or enhancing their own horticultural therapy programs, as well as individuals working in the field of horticultural therapy, are invited to download and use the four curriculum guides on this site. These guides provide practical information for using horticulture to impact four specific populations: individuals with mental illness, inmates in prison settings,
at-risk youth, and inner-city children. The guides are intended to serve in a wide range of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, development and vocational centers, assisted living centers and nursing homes, adult day care and senior centers, prisons, and homeless shelters.

The guides were developed by the Hort staff and field-tested on urban garden and farm projects undertaken in collaboration with social service agency partners. These partners and other organizations are part of the HTP formed in 2007 by The Hort to share best practices in horticultural therapy.

Horticultural therapy is an ancient practice that uses plants and gardens as tools in human healing and rehabilitation. Its benefits include stress reduction, mood improvement, alleviation of depression, social growth, physical and mental rehabilitation, wellness, and vocational training.

The Hort's work in horticultural therapy began in 1989 on Rikers Island, one of the largest jail complexes in the world, housing a daily average of 13,000 inmates. On a two acre site provided by the NYC Department of Correction, the Hort created a program that converted this moribund landscape into a lush garden, tended to — and cultivated by — inmates. Named the GreenHouse, this was the first program to use horticulture therapy to help incarcerated individuals, and the program still thrives today.

To facilitate the successful re-entry into society of inmates who graduate from the GreenHouse, the Hort subsequently created the GreenTeam, which provides transitional employment, life skills, horticultural vocational training and job placement support to offenders released from Rikers. For additional information on the GreenTeam or to engage our GreenTeam to create gardens or farms, click here.

We Hope that you find this information on this website helpful, and invite you to join The Horticultural Therapy Partnership by adding your name to the mailing list.

Thank You,

Hilda Krus, HTR
Horticultural Therapist
Director of GreenHouse & Horticultural Therapy