Farm-to-Table Model Used in Wilderness Therapy ProgramDecember 17, 2019
One of the tools wilderness therapy programs use to help improve young adult’s wellbeing is teaching them about how to use resources in their natural environment. Whether this involves gathering wood for a bonfire or harvesting food from the garden for meals, young adults develop a greater appreciation for their surroundings with this “farm-to-table” model. Wilderness therapy programs teach students how to take responsibility for their unhealthy habits and to use their internal resources to help them live independently.
What is a Farm-to-Table Model?
Farm-to-table concepts have made a resurgence in communities in recent years. Our society takes for granted the number of steps food goes through before it reaches the shelves of grocery stores. As a result, young people are more likely to choose food for its convenience rather than it’s health benefits, although research suggests that knowing where food comes from changes individuals’ attitudes towards the food that they eat and the way they feel when eating it. Local produce is also typically harvested at its peak ripeness when nutrients have had time to fully develop, so it’s at its peak nutritional content when brought to the table. This practice can help introduce variety into young adult’s diets and helps them make healthy food choices.
How Does it Align with Momentum’s Healthy Living Model?
Trails Momentum offers a seminar series on Healthy Living where students explore a variety of topics that promote nutrition awareness and best practices. Our Nutrition and Wellness Specialist, Charlotte Christensen, focuses on the connection between what people eat, how they feel, and how they can heal their bodies. In addition to learning about diet types, students discuss serving sizes of various food groups, the importance of water in the human body, the role of sleep on mental health, the benefits of stretching and exercise, and the positive impact that nature has on the human body.
“Each lesson includes research and is directly connected with the healthy living practices at Trails Momentum,” says Dr. Sarah Parlier, Director of Student Development at Trails Momentum. “When students prepare meals throughout the program, we integrate a food-based lesson related to the preparation. Our goal is to help students build the knowledge and skills to carry these healthy living lessons into their daily lives as they enter young adulthood.”
- Connection to Nature: While students split time between basecamp and backpacking expeditions, our goal is to help young adults build a greater appreciation for the outdoors–including local resources and outdoor activities. Spending more time in nature not only encourages young adults to unplug from the chaos of their modern lives, it also encourages them to tune into the opportunities around them.
- Nutritious Foods: Our culinary program is rooted in nutrition education and intuitive eating. We grow a variety of fruits and vegetables in the garden on campus that are used for meals. This ensures that students have access to fresh food and teaches them responsibility through taking care of the community garden. Eating the food that they have helped grow helps them understand and appreciate functional nutrition.
- Cooking Skills: We have a culinary kitchen on campus where students learn the basics of cooking for themselves and try new recipes. Culinary skills, meal planning, and grocery shopping are important skills for young adults living independently.
- Self-care: Whether students are dealing with a sedentary lifestyle and gaming addiction or low self-esteem and disordered eating, many of the young adults we work with come to our program struggling to consistently practice self-care. As they learn to value who they are as a person, they recognize how healthy habits, like diet and exercise, can help improve their mood and self-esteem.
Trails Momentum Can Help
Trails Momentum is a wilderness therapy program for teens and young adults ages 18-25 to transition to independence and improved self-awareness. The program uses adventure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a strength-based approach. It is a small and nurturing community that focuses on goals of improved self-regulation and overall functioning for the young adults. Trails Momentum gives students the skills they need to lead healthier, happier lives. We can help your family today!
Contact us at 877-296-8711.