Green City Growers’ (GCG) Gardening with Seniors programs immerse participants in hands-on gardening activities, stimulating senses and memories while fostering a connection with nature. GCG programs provide therapeutic experiences tending plants, along with the camaraderie of gardening with peers and cross-generational conversation. Programming helps to enhance the overall well-being of participants, creating a place where life revolves around interaction with people of all ages and abilities and with the world (and plants) around them. Gardening helps to create a sense of purpose and passion in participants as well.
Gardens are a beautiful, shared community space where seniors in independent living can work together and get to know each other. Participants can harvest fresh vegetables to enjoy themselves or in the kitchen. Programs can include activities such as container planting, which provides seniors with skills and plants they can care for in their own living spaces. Example program: After a community activity to plant and “wake up” the herb garden, seniors participate in preparing their own container of easy-to-maintain herbs.
Our farmer provides materials and guidance, and models garden activities so that seniors can complete the tasks both independently and as a group. GCG can design and install custom raised garden beds to allow for close up garden access for wheel chairs. Example program: Seniors plant perennial herbs in outdoor beds and “wake up” herbs already growing on site. Features easy-to-maintain culinary herbs and ones that can be enjoyed fresh or in teas. Outdoor activity is followed by tea time inside.
Sensory gardens are ideal for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other forms of memory loss or cognitive decline. Memory care programs are based on sensory and tactile activities. Our farmer provides guidance, doing tasks with seniors and adapting tasks so they are accessible and adjusted to the goals of the residents. Sensory gardens are made up of non-toxic plants and edibles, bursting with colors and aromatics. Example program: Seniors can see colors, smell and taste fresh samples of various herbs. Our farmer helps residents make their own tea bags filled with fresh herbs and the group enjoys a tea party together.
GCG provides outdoor and indoor growing systems. Outdoor systems include irrigated raised garden beds, easily accessible by a wheelchair or standing position. We can extend the season with a greenhouse or cold frames. Indoor systems allow for year-round growing and programming, and include planter shelves and boxes, drainage, and grow lights. We provide vegetables, fruits, and flowers based on your interests and site conditions.
WHERE DOES THE FOOD GO?
Programs allow for various food distribution efforts to be made. Resident volunteers can share the harvest and bring a portion home, or GCG can even hold cooking events of the fresh food. Produce may also be donated to local food rescue partners to be distributed to people in need within the community, or used in the facility’s dining services.