The Commons in Lincoln is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), proudly owned and operated by Benchmark Senior Living. They provide independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation all on the same vibrant campus.
The System We Created
In 2017 we installed four 30" raised vegetable beds with bush and vine trellising at the Independent Living Garden as well one in the Assisted Living Patio. We also installed a Sensory Garden full of edible plants in the Memory Care Patio. We provide weekly programming with independent living residents. The beds are all raised 30 inches to allow for easy access to the beds for those with mobility issues. Says programming director, Lauren Hathaway, of the program "It’s a chance for people to get outside and be active. Vitamin D and fresh air. You really can’t underestimate it."
Where Does the Food Go?
Most of the produce grown in the Commons Garden is put to good use in the facilities kitchens. Hathaway shared "The residents know we give the produce to the kitchen and they like seeing it in the salads that come out. It’s always mentioned on our menu when they are using the garden's vegetables and there’s a sense of pride for the people that have worked in the garden to see it in their food and say, 'oh I planted that.'"
GCG farmers provide support and maintenance weekly, guiding residents and providing on-site expertise. As Hathaway says “Our residents spent all their lives going, going, going, and working really hard to grow families and businesses. Even if they can’t do as much as they've gotten older, it’s important to focus on what they can do to provide them with purpose. This program gives them that.”