‘Harvest for Health’ study pairs cancer survivors with master gardeners

Health News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A study based in the Albuquerque metro is looking at the healing power of gardening.

“Just the fact that you have to go outside and take care of a plant can bring different benefits that we don’t always see,” horticulturist Sara Moran said.

The UNM Cancer Center is partnering with NMSU’s Master Gardeners Program for the “Harvest for Health” study. It pairs cancer survivors with master gardeners who will guide them through planting, tending and harvesting their own food.

UNM Dr. Cindy Blair participated in a similar study at the University of Alabama and decided to bring the idea here. Cancer survivors who participated ate more vegetables, saw improvements in strength and flexibility, and were more motivated to exercise.

Those involved in the study say it will benefit the teachers as well as the students.

“The camaraderie of going to a person and seeing the growth of that person, as well as the growth of a garden over an extended period of time,” coordinator Kathy Clough said.

The pilot program starts early next year, pairing gardeners with cancer survivors in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties. It could eventually expand around the state.

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