Pathways Vermont: Soteria’s Therapeutic Garden

Grant Amount: $3,700

Soteria is an alternative living environment for people who are experiencing distressing and extreme psychological states, sometimes referred to as “psychosis.”  Soteria provides a safe and nonjudgmental home-like residence and is designed as a prevention to hospitalization.  At Soteria, we believe that psychosis can be a temporary experience that one works through rather than a chronic mental illness that needs to be managed.  Soteria house can support five residents at a time and many of the residents are young adults.  Individuals may stay for 3-6 months or longer and many choose to remain in transitional services after leaving.  Soteria also engages in Community Outreach.  This service is available to all Vermont adults for low or no fee and is shown to be less than ⅓ the cost per day of hospitalization.  By providing early intervention services, including non-judgmental support, peer-to-peer relationships, and coordination of other transitional and community services, Soteria helps improve the long term functional outcomes of highly vulnerable community members.  In order to protect residents’ confidentiality, Soteria is located in an unmarked home in Burlington, VT. 

This project is called Soteria’s Therapeutic Garden ​ and it is about helping Soteria increase our capacity to supply and recycle healthy nutrients for our community as a way of promoting holistic mental health.  We would like to  refurbish our backyard area by installing 2 composters, 2 raised garden beds, and a chicken coop with a run and area  for 3 chickens to free-range in the yard.  We will also plant a couple pots of blueberry bushes.  We have a need for raised beds and potted berries because the local community garden leaders have told us that the land where we are located (we are renters) is considered potentially contaminated from old industrial and landfill effects.  Thus we would also like to pay to have soil testing from University of Vermont in multiple sites in our yard to determine how (un)healthy the soil actually is.  From there we would like to engage in soil remediation efforts, to bring in fungal inoculations to help detoxify heavy metals and reinvigorate the soil.