Therapeutic Alternatives of Maryland (TALMAR) is dedicated to the mission of enhancing health for all people of all ages and abilities. TALMAR offers an innovative, therapeutic vocational, and recreational environment designed particularly for individuals with disabilities or chronic conditions that impact their health and well-being.
In 1998, TALMAR was founded to provide an alternative avenue that could transform lives and create meaning for many individuals with emotional, mental, physical, and developmental challenges.
In 2005, Baltimore County Recreation and Parks recognized TALMAR’s contribution to the community by selecting TALMAR to steward 10 acres of land with an existing farm in Cromwell Valley Park, where we are currently located.
The farm at TALMAR has become a safe haven, an intimate contact with nature, to deliver services and programs in horticultural therapy, work skill development, vocational training, and educational enrichment programs whose focus is serving those in the disability community. Year-round, our trained horticultural therapists and skilled staff work with groups from educational institutes, schools, agencies, veterans’ communities, senior and adult facilities, as well as individuals from the community. Our programs serve a wide range of participants including the elderly, veterans, at-risk youth, stroke survivors, developmentally disabled individuals, and participants with a variety of health issues including PTSD, depression, anxiety, autism, Asperger’s, back injury, amputation, etc.
YEAR END LETTER FROM OUR FOUNDER
As most of you know, TALMAR (Therapeutic Alternatives of Maryland) provides opportunities for everyone, though focusing on those with physical, mental or developmental challenges. Through horticulture and agriculture, each activity is tailored to each individual’s ability. They may be here to learn the farming business or to obtain the skills needed to work in a greenhouse, plant store, or florist. Others come to TALMAR to fill their day with opportunities that allow for social engagement, physical strengthening, or vocational training. Others want to be a part of farm community that grows flowers and vegetables knowing that they are involved in providing healthy, organic food for the community.
The common thread for all of our participants is feeling that there is purpose and meaning. JB said, “I enjoy coming here, being at the farm is peaceful.” Amy expressed; “I have thoroughly enjoyed the program. This has been both therapeutic and recreational fun for me. The staff has made each visit personally meaningful. Thank you! I’d like to continue to learn and do projects as you come up with them. This is a very caring and loving environment and it has greatly benefited me!”
As the 2019 approaches, TALMAR will continue to provide ongoing programs which services the disability community. We will also be increasing training opportunities for veterans who are unemployed and have mental health challenges.
Due to the success of our sustainable agricultural farm training program for the past two years, TALMAR was selected to provide vocational training in agriculture and horticulture for 30 veterans, as part of Veterans Affairs Farming and Recovery Mental Health Services (VA FARMS) beginning February 11, 2019. Using our USDA curriculum of classroom and hands on education in sustainable farming and ongoing mental health treatment from the VA, we anticipate there to be a positive impact in their mental health and employment in the farming industry. While a pilot program, we expect VA FARMS will be an ongoing partnership for years to come.
Depression and hopelessness describes how most of the military veterans, who participate in our training program, feel. They have given their lives to protect our country and have returned stateside asking “What now?”, “What’s my purpose?”, “What ways may I continue to serve realizing that I must first service myself?”. Their battle scars vary; but, for those we serve, there becomes direction, hope and purpose.
Eryck wrote: “Being a 23-year military Veteran and current Organic Farm student at TALMAR Farm has allowed me to appreciate and value life again. I was on the edge of many negative life-changing events. Since I’ve become a student and actively engaged at all levels of farming, I have acquired a new meaning for myself. Being able to plant seeds in the soil and help them grow to full life and knowing those nutrients (that are obtained from organic vegetables) are helping others to live a more healthy and positive life (has impacted my life). I now process new skills to continue forward (in farming) on my own. My experience here has been life transforming”.
Billy wrote, “The program that TALMAR offers for veterans is stellar. This is a very in-depth education on how to be a successful sustainable farmer and I love every minute of it. I’ve been given a new life full of optimism and opportunity. I have been given so much hope and confidence about my future.
As this year comes to a close, we are asking for your financial support. We NEED your financial support!
Please help us to help those we serve. You will have a direct impact in making a difference in their lives. Along with TALMAR, you will create purpose, meaning, hope and direction.
Designate how you would like your donation to be spent.
Thank you for supporting our mission!
Executive Director and Founder