HEALING IN THE DIRT: Missouri City park helping others find peace

MISSOURI CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- Gardening and growing your own food is not only good for your physical health, it can also prove beneficial to your mental health.

A community garden in Missouri City at Buffalo Run Park does more than nourish the body. The goal of the Lettuce Live urban farm project is to also heal the mind by using gardening as therapy.

You name it, it's growing on about a half-acre of land which fosters healthy eating and healing.

"Garden therapy helps you either come and be isolated or work as a group. Plants don't judge or care if you fell off recovery yesterday," said Lettuce Live founder, Karena Poke.

Lettuce Live combines Poke's work in gardening with her compassion for mental health issues. She welcomes people like Vietnam War veteran, Gary Eagleton, who lost his leg while serving our country.

He says the gardening satisfies his need to be around people, but not in constant interaction. The raised garden beds providing a comfortable way to work the land.

"I can do what I need to do in here, and it does not agitate anything that goes on with my back or my leg," said Eagleton.

He's one of many making this garden grow. We also met high school volunteers from the Fort Bend Regional Council.

Student volunteer Liddie Tillman told us,"It really helps you think, and helps destress."

If you're wondering if this is for you, Poke says digging in the dirt isn't even a requirement.

"We want people to just come and enjoy our space. So if you just want to come and sit, our gates are open for that," said Poke.

There is work going on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Poke wants to spread the word about this garden so that other therapists can bring their own clients to this spot.

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