Hospital’s food garden aids road to recovery

Spring Foundation garden production manager Toni Khulule, left, and Thembisa Mtintsilane, right, work in the Spring Foundation garden at Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital. With them is Bianca Gilbert, a representative from a retailer that recently donated seeds to the garden.

Mitchell’s Plain residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding organic produce on their doorstep.

Spinach, kale, cabbage, onions, potatoes, carrots and herbs can all be bought from the Spring Foundation’s garden at Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital, on Highlands Drive.

Up to 25 patients work in the 55m² garden from Monday to Friday, according to Spring Foundation garden production manager Toni Khulule.

The garden supplies Constantia Waldorf School and Oranjezicht City Farm Market, but individual customers are also welcome to email an order by Thursday evening and collect on Friday.

The eight-year-old garden, which recently received a donation of more than 3.2 million seeds from a large retailer and a nursery, provides sustenance, therapy and training to convalescing patients.

“This project holds the promise of enhancing our clients’ overall well-being and equipping them with the necessary tools to become productive and contributing members of society,” said the hospital’s chief executive officer, Warren Caesar.

“We encourage the private sector to join us in supporting the recovery and reintegration of these rehabilitated individuals, fostering a more inclusive and compassionate community for all.”

According to Dr John Parker, the founder of the Spring Foundation and the former psychiatric head of the hospital’s outpatient unit, gardening supports belonging and inclusion and boosts health and well-being.

The foundation started in 2012 in a bid to green the hospital (“Patients keep market garden going,” Plainsman February 1, 2017).

To order vegetables and for more information, email