- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - A Huntington-based therapeutic recovery organization will dig into drug addiction recovery as it begins construction of an urban farm to help teach skills to people fighting addiction.

Jeannie Harrison, 27, of Huntington, executive director of the nonprofit Gro Huntington, said raised garden beds, a compost bin and storage building will be built on the lot, which was donated to the organization by the city of Huntington. The lot once held a dilapidated house.

Gro Huntington is an urban farm and holistic healing organization that provides therapeutic work on farmland for individuals fighting addiction. Through the work, participants learn important job and life skills while also meeting potential employers for when they are ready to re-enter the job market.

“They will be interacting with those owners who can hopefully give them a job,” Harrison said.

Crops grown on the farm, which will be looked after by program participants, will be sold to local establishments, Harrison said.

“The farm is going to build our sustainability,” she said. “This is how we prove the model works. Our clients in the community come out and support us financially, but this will be our revenue stream. It also helps our clients connect to business owners in town.”

While the farm is the center of the program, a mixture of yoga, cooking, parenting and other types of classes help participants learn the life skills needed to be successful members of society while also connecting to nature.

Harrison hopes the combination will teach clients coping mechanisms for a better chance at a successful, long-term recovery.

While the main focus of the organization is on those fighting addiction, public classes are also offered with a request for a donation for the program.

Some of those courses will occur at the farm, Harrison said.

“We will be doing meditation and yoga on the farm, because we want to connect as deeply as possible to the planet,” she said.

Monetary donations can be made and a class schedule can be found at GroHuntington.org.

Gro Huntington is also accepting donations of gently used gardening and yoga supplies.

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Information from: The Herald-Dispatch, https://www.herald-dispatch.com


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