“Even when I am having a bad day, I look forward to heading out to the farm. There’s something about having my hands in the dirt and face in the sun that makes me happy.”
Veterans Reap the Benefits of Training and Behavioral Care
The name TALMAR has been synonymous with therapeutic gardening in the Baltimore area for more than 20 years. When the Veterans Affairs Health Care System of Maryland was selected for a groundbreaking new program that supports veterans developing job skills while being treated for a service-related illness, a partnership between the VA and TALMAR was born.
TALMAR is honored to be one of only 10 host sites for the the Veterans Affairs Farming and Recovery Mental Health Services (VA FARMS) project in the United States. In 2019, we worked closely with the Baltimore and Perry Point VA Medical Centers to provide the VA Farms program to 30 local veterans. In 2020, TALMAR’s program will expand to include more veterans and more learning opportunities.
The program combines classroom instruction and hands-on activities with the goal of providing participants with new vocational skills, community relationships, and healthy ways of coping with mental health challenges.
“Even when I am having a bad day, I look forward to heading out to the farm,” says one participant. “There’s something about having my hands in the dirt and face in the sun that makes me happy. And I didn’t even know I’d like it when I signed up!”
In addition to group instruction each veteran completes an independent project over the course of the season. 2019 projects include building season-extending cold frames, calculating cover crops, and building permaculture beds.
The cohort of veterans who’ve been engaged with the program for nine months will graduate next month. When they graduate from the program veterans leave with a working knowledge of farming, from planning to harvest to distribution. They also take away business planning and grant writing skills to help them move forward into the future.
We’re so proud of all that our program participants have accomplished in the past nine months and we are so excited to bring this experience and opportunity to more people.
-The TALMAR Team
Don’t miss out!
Don’t miss out on our Fall CSA! Get fresh vegetables every week from October 22nd-November 15th. By becoming a member of our CSA you are not only getting fresh and local produce, but you are also supporting all of our differently-abled community members who need TALMAR as a therapeutic, recreational, and job training resource.
For registration and/or questions, please contact us at 410-825-2020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To New Beginnings
A farewell from our Founder and Executive Director, Cate Murphy:
As a horticultural therapist and educator for those with special needs, I knew the therapeutic effects that working with plants could have on one’s habilitation and rehabilitation progress. I personally knew the impact that gardening had in my own life– providing exercise, creativity, inspiration, and healing. I was driven to engage individuals, regardless of their challenges, with an opportunity to garden with the use of adaptable tools and equipment. Consequently, in 1998, I established TALMAR (Therapeutic Alternatives of Maryland) as a non-profit organization with the mission of providing horticultural programming and therapy for people of all ages and abilities.
In TALMAR’s initial years we were located in Harford county on five acres of generously donated land. We used this land, and one greenhouse, to provide consumers from area agencies and schools to engage in gardening activities. In 2005 TALMAR was fortunate to expand our programs and services into Baltimore County with the establishment of an incredible partnership with Baltimore County Recreation and Parks, Office of Therapeutic Recreation. Inside Cromwell Valley Park, we erected a larger greenhouse and turned fallow land into growing fields for organically grown vegetables and flowers. Here, community members could engage, learn, and benefit from the nurtures of nature.
In the ensuing years, TALMAR has evolved into what it is today; a sustainable farm offering an innovative therapeutic environment whilst providing work skills development, vocational, educational and recreational programming in horticulture and agriculture. All programs are designed particularly for individuals with physical, mental, and/or developmental challenges that impact their health and well-being– encouraging each individual to surpass any preconceived limitations. Most recently, we have expanded our vocational programming to include veterans with mental health challenges providing course work and hands-on training in sustainable agriculture.
We cherish the story of TALMAR, where we have come from and where we are today, but now it is time to now focus on where we are going. With new and energized vision and leadership, TALMAR’s future has extensive opportunities. This is an exciting time for us and I am certain that our new Executive Director will continue to steer our organization onward and upward!
It is with great excitement that I now introduce you to TALMAR’s new Executive Director, Kate Joyce!
I am excited to join TALMAR and to work with our consumers, staff, and friends to grow TALMAR to honor Cate’s original vision!
Make a Note: Annual Christmas Tree Sale!
Fall has just begun, but we’re already thinking about Christmas trees! TALMAR will start selling frasier and balsam firs on Black Friday! Trees will be available every weekend from Thanksgiving until we run out– so don’t wait!
Yoga on the Farm October 12, 9am-10am ages 18+. All abilities.
Enjoy a 1 hour yoga session on the farm with Katie O’Maily. Katie specializes in trauma-sensitive yoga for people of all ages and abilities. Bring a towel or mat and water. Cost is $15. Chik-Fil-A Spirit Night October 16, 5pm-8pm.
Grab dinner at Chick-fil-A and help TALMAR at the same time! At the time of purchase, let the cashier know that you are there for “Spirit Night” and TALMAR receives 20% of the sale. Seed Saving Workshop October 19, 10am-12pm
Seed Saving- Learn to preserve your favorite varieties of vegetables and flowers while saving money in the process. In this hands-on workshop you will learn to collect, process, store, and germinate your own seeds. Cost is $15.
Taming Your Inner Dragon:
Using Complementary Medicine to Manage Anxiety and Stress October 19, 12pm-2pm
Dr. Janice Campbell will discuss the use of complementary medicine in managing anxiety, PTSD, and other illnesses in children and adults. Workshop participants will learn tools for self-care. About the facilitator: Dr. Campbell is the Director of Clinical Education at Maryland University of Integrative Health and Acupuncturist at Balance Point Wellness, LLC. Her practice is centered around addressing the stress/trauma/PTSD spectrum and how it plays out in our bodies, minds and hearts. To register: call 410-825-2020 OR email: email@example.com Registration closes October 11, 2019. Cost is $45.
Your donations support TALMAR’s therapeutic environment. We provide work skills development, vocational, educational and recreational programming in horticulture and agriculture. All programs are designed particularly for individuals with physical, mental or developmental challenges that impact their health and well-being.