Monday, January 7, 2013

Planting the Seeds of Recovery

The addiction recovery center Man Alive Inc., in collaboration with the Neighborhood Design Center, used the Love Your Block with Tree’s grant to kick-start their ambitious plans for 2004-12 N. Charles Street. Man Alive first adopted a lot on Charles Street in 2011 and since then have worked to maintain and care for the lots while a plan was generated. While excitement for the project was great amongst the clients and staff, the project faced a series of obstacles in the first year and a plan was never fully developed. In the summer of 2012, with help from the Neighborhood Design Center, the garden committee coalesced around a plan for a grove of fruit and flowering trees that would act as a memorial orchard.  Grace Sweeney, lead organizer of the project for Man Alive says she’s excited “for our clients and staff to have a positive impact on the community and to provide an environment where our clients can work outside and literally see the ‘fruits’ of their labor.” Staff at Man Alive hope that the project can tie in with their own programs and help serve as a form of horticultural therapy for clients struggling to recover from addiction. Grace notes that “work outside will be coupled with a therapy group inside where [clients] can talk about their experiences and share how working with the plants and fruit trees influence their recovery.”

The Love Your Block with Tree’s grant ( allowed Man Alive patients and staff to get a head start on their plan by planting native perennials in a designated meadow area and street trees in front of the center.  Man Alive hosts biweekly workdays to help clean up the prodigious amount of trash that accumulates on the highly-trafficked lot and prepare the soil for spring planting. If you are interested in helping out with the project please contact Grace Sweeney at or Mikah Zaslow at

 planting native plants

 hauling soil

cleaning trash
the whole group

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