Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


MSN project

First Advisor

Dr. Carey Martin


Problem: The use of evidence-based alternative forms of therapy like horticulture therapy and therapeutic gardening is underutilized in substance use recovery programs in the United States. As the country continues to struggle with addiction, it is important that recovery programs look to and incorporate these alternative therapies into official curricula. Currently, 46.3 million individuals living in the United States are living with a substance use disorder (U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2022).

Context: The intervention was implemented at an all-male substance use treatment facility in San Jose, CA that houses up to thirty-two participants at any given time. Participants typically have some sort of history with the criminal justice system and are often ordered into treatment at this facility, although participation is completely voluntary.

Interventions: After conducting a review of research, it was found that gardening has had beneficial and therapeutic effects on at-risk populations including veterans, the incarcerated, those living with mental health illnesses, and those living with substance use disorders (SUD). The intervention consisted of a therapeutic gardening project at a substance use recovery center in San Jose, California.

Measures: Measures for this project are qualitative in nature and were captured via interviews and surveys developed and provided by the University of San Francisco nursing students implementing the project.

Results: Many of the participants that were engaged in the gardening integration at this in-patient substance use treatment center reported that they enjoyed the experience and felt that it positively benefited them; this was obtained through surveys, interviews, and ethnographic observations from the University of San Francisco (USF) students.

Conclusions: Results from this project fall in line with current research regarding the use of therapeutic gardening and support the use of this intervention in substance use disorder programming.