Sonya is the head of news at the Bay of Plenty Times.

Organic gardening helps cancer sufferers

Learning how to grow healthy, organic vegetables at little or no cost has been a hit.

Hannah's Bay Community Restoration Trust project manager Denise La Grouw, in conjunction with the Aratika Trust, held a workshop for people to learn the skills of creating and maintaining an organic garden at the Hannah's Bay reserve yesterday morning.

The workshop was part of a two-week course for people dealing with cancer. Topics covered included garden design, soil, composting, resource gathering, garden types, building a worm farm, making compost teas, companion planting and manure crops.

Ms La Grouw said it was for those people that wanted to grow organic food and did not want to use chemicals.

"It's all about learning to support life and creative living systems. We've had quite a few of these organic gardening sessions over the last few years, this physical garden is in its second or third year."

Aratika Trust secretary Sheree McKenzie said their organisation was about helping people with cancer learn how to support their treatments with holistic and natural methods, one of which was organic gardening.

"It's about integrating certain things to help people gain control and support their conventional treatments. We're providing help and wellness programmes, mind, body and soul therapy for people who have got cancer."

They also do meditation courses and hold an eight-day retreat to the Tauhara Centre in Taupo, among other types of natural and holistic therapy.

She said going to the Hannah's Bay garden was about the nutrition side of things, plus there was also the therapy gardening could provide.

"It's all part of being holistic and looking after the well-being of you and the environment," she said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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