People Plant Council Around the World

The People Plant Council is an organization that finds strength in its international membership. This allows for a diverse exchange of ideas and research regarding people and plant relationships. It’s not hard to see this diversity by simply taking a look at our World Map. If you haven’t already, add yourself to the PPC World Map and begin connecting to other people-plant enthusiasts world wide. To get an idea of what PPC members are doing internationally, we interviewed a few PPC members to show simply how wonderfully diverse our membership is. Read about them below and feel inspired!

David Aldous, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Queensland, Australia

Are you originally from Australia?                                                                        Born in Sydney, New South Wales (N.S.W.), Australia and graduated with B.Agr.Sci. (Hons.) from the University of Sydney. Undertook graduate work at Cornell (MS) and Michigan State University (PhD). Spent most of my professional career as an academic and researcher in environmental horticulture at the University of Queensland (Queensland, Australia), Massey University (New Zealand) and the University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia). Principal areas of research included plant growth under stressed environments, sport turf and amenity grasslands, urban park management, and horticultural therapy, in the environmental horticulture sector.

What do you currently do as a profession?
Retired in 2008 from the University of Melbourne. Currently Adjunct Associate Professor with the University of Queensland and hold an Honorary Professorship with the Univeristy of South Africa. Sessional staff member and researcher with the University of Queensland, and Griffith University in Queensland in the area of environmental horticulture. Research interests now broadened to include the measuring and managing the benefits of green open space in urban and peri-urban areas, and the sustainability of green open space undergoing climate change. Industry contributions include providing presentations at conferences and symposiums, being a consulting editor (HortScience), and contributing on the Executive Committee to the 2014 International Horticultural Congress)( http://www.ihc2014.org/)

How did you get interested in this field?
Initial invitation to speak on horticultural therapy at a Victorian Health Commission Meeting in Melbourne, Victoria in 1984. This extended into an elective as part of the B.Appl. Science (Horticulture) program at the University of Melbourne where students could also undertake their Horticultural Project in this area. In the 1980s-1990’s there where 5 viable horticultural therapy associations or their equivalent in N.S.W., Victoria, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory (A.C.T.) and Western Australia in a population of 20 milliom. Real interest started when the International People-Plant Symposium came to Sydney, N.S.W., Australia in 1998.

Do you have a favorite source, book, website, or journal that you always go to for work? If so, what is it? How did you originally find it?                                                     The favorite sources, books, websites and journal principally came out of the United State of America and the United Kingdom. The main driving force has been the website of the American Horticultural Therapy Association (http://ahta.org/). Originally found the website on Google and networked with organisations and individuals from Australasia, Europe and North America. In 2014 three volumes called “Horticulture: Plants for People and Places”, to be co-edited by G.R. Dixon and D.E. Aldous will be published. In Volume 2 called “Social Horticulture” there is the place of horticulture in meeting individual and community needs in social health, diet and health, public health, urban environmental health, and urban food security.

What is the primary challenge specific to your work as it relates to people-plant interactions?
Primary challenge is to ensure that any professional horticultural therapist has the practical experience and knowledge to be able to select appropriate plant material and /or activities/programs so they achieve the therapeutic and rehabilitative needs of the client group

What do you like most about what you do?
Gaining that rewarding feeling when a positive connection is made between the patient/client and the plant material/gardening activity where the goals have been established and achieved by the trained therapist.

What is your favorite plant and why?                                                               Basically a short growing food plant like peas, beans or radish. Crops can illustrate a number of activities that emulate life.

Masanori Kimura, Faculty of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture

Where are you originally from?                                                                      Hokkaido (northernmost of main land), Japan. I graduated from Tokyo University of Agriculture.

What do you currently do?
As a faculty of Urban Horticulture and People-Plant Relationships at Department of Human and Animal-Plant Relationships, Tokyo University of Agriculture, I focus on utilizing agricultural techniques for local people and improving quality of life through plants and gardening activitie such as:

1. Roof gardening with organic vegetables at local elementary school – the first year children participated in this program experience how to grow lots of vegetables within limited space, which is less than a square meter per person, of roof gardening. Also, children are interviewed to examine how they enjoy roof gardening activity and how roof gardening activity is meaningful to them. The children yearly grow potatoes, sweet potatoes, gingers, soybeans (edamame), peanuts, tomatoes, sweet peppers, rice, herbs, and etc.

2. Roof gardening on residential buildings and community gardens in urban area – this roof gardening program held every weekend aims to support the landscape conservation (environmental level), the formation of community (society level), and the purpose of life (individual level). Also, I am an instructor to coach growing vegetables in the community garden program. Students in my lab assist me in both programs and conduct surveys to study what participants desire and how they enjoy the corporative gardening.

3. Rapid market assessment of local farmer’s market – The rapid market assessment, investigated by Oregon State University and I learned it during my half-year study abroad at Michigan State University, I utilize it to support the connection between consumers and producers and to examine the role of famer’s market in urban area.

4. Developing of roof gardening of shopping mall in corporation with a company – with making green space on the rooftop, we aim to provide a garden leading happiness to people by setting a device to directly connect people together.

How did you get interested in this field?
I used to engage in the cultivation of herb and microscopy of essential oil secretory tissue as my earlier career. In 1994, there was the 24th International Horticulture Congress (IHC) carried out in Kyoto, Japan, and the first People-Plant Relationships Symposium was also held. That experience I helped the international conference drew me to the work in people-plant relationships having a great purpose to focus on the happiness of people. After the symposium, I started the laboratory of this field in Tokyo University of Agriculture, which was the earliest in Japan, and I have belonged to my lab since it began in 1998.

Do you have a favorite source, book, web site, or journal that you always go to for work? If so, what is it? How did you find it?                                                              Websites: People Plant Council, International Society for Horticultural Science, Japanese Society of People-Plant Relationships                                                    Journals: Chronica Horticulturae, Acta Horticulturae, Hort-Science, Journal of the Japanese Society of People-Plant Relationships                                            Conference and symposium: International People-Plant Symposium, International Conference on Landscape and Urban Horticulture, International Horticultural Congress, Japanese Society of People-Plant Relationships Annual Conference

What is the primary challenge specific to your part of the works, as it relates to what you do?
To conduct evidence-based research and to quantify people’s happiness

What’s your favorite plant and why?
The beautiful flowering pear and crabapple tree that I saw at Michigan State University is my unforgettable memory. I was so impressed to see the blooming tree avenue in the United States, because I thought it was something particular to Japan such as cherry, plum and peach trees. With green lawn, the beautiful scenery of blooming trees comes to my mind even now.

What do you like most about what you do?
Since my research is conducted in the practical fields in our society, it allows me to actually see people’s happy smile, which is my great pleasure, and I can feel that being able to study in the practical fields leads my lab students to grow as well.

You can contact Masanori at: kimuram@nodai.ac.jp

Annette Beerens, Changing Colors, horticultural therapist in the Netherlands

Where are you originally from?
Montreal, Quebec, but now I live in Holland.

What do you currently do?
I am a horticultural therapist with my own practice.

How did you get interested in this field?
I started my professional career as a biodynamic farmer. After working at a care farm in Switzerland, I decided to ‘dig deeper’ into the world of therapy and Nature. Then I studied horticultural therapy, worked in several healthcare facilities and started my own practice 9 years ago.

Do you have a favorite source, book, web site, or journal that you always go to for work? If so, what is it? How did you find it?’
The book: “Green Nature, Human Nature” by Charles Stewart offers a great introduction to why horticultural therapy really works. Patrik Grahn at the Swedish University of Agriculture has done some research on humans and nature.

What is the primary challenge specific to your part of the work, as it relates to what you do?
The greatest challenge is to convince the government to pay for horticultural therapy programs because they cure people and prevent others from getting ill.

What’s your favorite plant and why?
My favorite plant is the Acanthus mollis because it has a ‘prehistoric’ look and grows in places where it gets stuck.

What do you like most about what you do?
I enjoy pointing out to others that Mother Nature loves us onconditionally. We are all equal and allowed to replenish by using Nature in any form that is appropriate for us.

Learn more about Annette’s work through these websites: www.changingcolors.nl, www.ipps2012.com, and www.growingfoundation.nl

S. Norman Goodyear, Associate Professor, Department of Plant and Animal Sciences, Dalhousie University, Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada

Where are you originally from?                                                                               My home province is Newfoundland and Labrador.

What do you currently do?
Associate Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University

How did you get interested in this field?
I have a keen interest in alternative approaches to health, so in addition to my formal training in plant science/horticulture I have also studied, formally and informally, in the human behaviour and counseling areas. Specifically with horticultural therapy I was the project lead (Canadian) for a North America mobility project* and one of the US partner institutions was Virginia Tech (US lead). It was through that project that I met Diane Relf and developed a close working relationship. Curriculum development was part of the objective of the project and with Diane Relf as my mentor (and supplier of many resources) I wrote an upper level undergraduate course in Horticultural Therapy – to date I have had four successful offering of the course. I also work with local groups interested in HT, particularly with seniors and youth. Under the Canadian system (CHTA.ca) I am a HTR (Horticultural Therapist Registered), I have also at time been active in the CHTA.

[* HRSD in Canada http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/student/funding/north_america.shtml, FIPSE, USA and SIP, Mexico]

Do you have a favorite source, book, web site, or journal that you always go to for work? If so, what is it? How did you find it?’
I frequently visit the web pages of the CHTA and AHTA, as well as Thrive in the UK. There isn’t a favourite journal, I search multiple sources for information, and in recent years most are available online. On-line search engines for both academic and non-academic sources make it very easy to access information. The text that I recommend for my course is: Simpson, S. and M. Straus. 1998. Horticulture as Therapy: Principles and Practices. The Food Products Press (The Haworth Press). New York;
I also suggest:
Haller, R. L. and C. L. Kramer. 2006. Horticultural Therapy Methods. The Haworth Press.
Hewson, M. L. 1994. Horticulture as Therapy: A Practical Guide to Using Horticulture as a Therapeutic Tool. Greenmor Printing Company Ltd. Guelph ON.
Marcus, C. C. and M. Barnes. 1999. Healing Gardens: Therapeutic Benefits and Design Recommendations Wiley.
Relf D. (Ed.). 1992. The role of horticulture in human well-being and social development. Timber Press
Among others….

What is the primary challenge specific to your part of the works, as it relates to what you do?                                                                                                                    I think in NA generally we are still at the embryonic stage of recognizing and embracing the power of many alternative approaches to health, indeed focussing on a wellness model rather than the medical (or sick) model. There is a huge need for education and moving alternative approaches as either adjunct or direct interventions alongside what is viewed as traditional healthcare.

What’s your favorite plant and why?
It is difficult to really identify just one favourite plant!!Today it is the Amaryllis as I have one that is just beginning to bloom. What I like about it is that is really fail safe, it is a large bulb, easy to handle and it will produce a most striking and impressive bloom; because of its size it is easy to obverse and enjoy all the development phases. So simple, but for a more advance group can work with manipulating the blooming period and even propagation.

What do you like most about what you do?
I enjoy teaching, being in the classroom in both formal and informal learning settings. Specifically with HT the magic that happens when plants and people come together, either within Therapeutic Horticultural or Horticultural Therapy.

To learn more about Norman’s work visit:  http://www.dal.ca/faculty/agriculture/plant-animal-sciences/faculty-staff/our-faculty/norman-goodyear.html

You can contact Norman at: norman.goodyear@dal.ca

Leave a Reply