GreenThumbs, Healthy Joints

Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints

Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints is a program that provides West Virginia organizations the opportunity to perform community service by making gardening accessible to West Virginians with arthritis.

Mini-Grant Applications

Green Thumbs will provide qualifying groups with financial support up to $1000 to help cover material costs for construction of raised beds and/or other accessibility modifications for gardens at senior centers, public parks and other locations.

Green Thumbs will provide technical assistance and support for groups in identifying accessible gardening resources to meet the needs of their community.

With part of the grant award, recipients buy ergonomic tools that they can later use in outreach and educational efforts. Partnerships with other community groups are encouraged. Call 800-841-8436 or email for more information on possible funding opportunities.

Did you know?

  • West Virginia has the highest prevalence of arthritis in the United States, with 37% of adults diagnosed with some form of the joint condition.
  • Gardening can provide not only access to the outdoors, but also the stretching, strengthening and aerobic activity found to reduce pain associated with arthritis.

(Source: "Burden of Arthritis in West Virginia," February 2006.  West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health)

What makes a garden accessible?

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome can create painful and frustrating limitations that affect active people of all ages. Ways to make gardening more accessible include:

  • Raised beds and vertical gardens minimize bending and help prevent overuse of arthritic joints.
  • Container gardening using wheeled caddies enables gardeners to move their plants to more convenient places for maintenance.
  • Pulley systems for hanging baskets make watering, feeding and grooming much easier.
  • Ergonomic tools are helpful not only to gardeners who have arthritis, but also for younger gardeners hoping to avoid the consequences of the repetitive motions and odd postures in which many avid gardeners are frequently engaged.

Support for 'Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints' is made possible by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Osteoporosis and Arthritis Program, which is part of the Bureau for Public Health.

All printed materials are available in braille, electronic format, cassette tape and large print.