Enjoy the new Everybody Grows short film on our Youtube Channel! Many thanks to Double R Productions for generously producing this film as a pro bono project, and for the amazing work they did.
Volunteering is an opportunity to learn new skills and to interact with people and communities that otherwise you may never encounter. At Everybody Grows, we regularly work at our nursing home and fire station inspiration gardens with groups of volunteers. For some of our volunteers, working in our gardens is their first experience growing food. Other volunteers bring many gardening ideas and experiences to share, and we love to get their input and feedback.
At the fire stations, firefighters joined us to plant spinach, lettuce, beets, and other cold-resistant crops for the fall.
Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers that have come out to support our inspiration gardens across the city. We truly enjoy growing food and sharing our work with each of you. If you are interested in volunteering, go to everybodygrows.org/volunteer. We always welcome any new volunteers.
During our recent planting day at Stoddard Nursing Home, I had a moving conversation with a resident who told me how she had recently undergone surgery, and how the garden gave her an extra reason to recover the ability to walk. She wanted to be able to help out as much as possible. She also told me how great the sun felt, and how she was so happy to be outside in the garden. Her words reminded me of the optimism that gardening can instill.
Gardening certainly has therapeutic power. The physical therapist at Stoddard, Michael Kramer, was highly supportive and interested in the garden. On our planting day, he was the first staff member to plant in the garden, along with his patient Ms. Farley, who was the first resident to work with us in the garden. I had an interesting conversation with Michael about the ways gardening can help in rehabilitation. Gardening involves a variety of physical activities, ranging from the fine motor skills used to harvest herbs, to the gross motor skills of digging and watering. I look forward to continuing a dialogue with Michael about how the garden, and by extension Everybody Grows, can be of assistance in his work with his patients.
I had another interesting conversation about the therapeutic power of gardening with deputy fire chief David Foust. We talked about how firefighters work long shifts, and how their vital work can often be stressful and intense. We discussed the potential of the garden to help enhance mindfulness and offer a temporary relief. I know that in my work as a teacher the garden serves this role. Leaving the classroom behind and leading a small group to work in the garden can be be a welcome change for me and for my students. When we return to the classroom, we are refreshed and ready to learn and play.
I also want to share a recommendation for a book, called Accessible Gardening: Tips and Techniques for Seniors and the Disabled by Joann Woy that a staff member at Stoddard, Linda Ripley, shared with us. Thanks to all of our gardening partners for generously teaching us about their fields!
On May 14th, Everybody Grows planted our first nursing home inspiration garden with the residents and staff at Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home. We had a great turnout and participation from many who live and work at the home. We all worked together and got our hands dirty planting in the ten of the raised beds that live on a beautiful patio area that runs alongside the home
Ms. Farley planted the very first plants, a row of sweet peppers. Mr. Goldring was a gardening machine, and once he got going, he did not stop until he had filled nearly two of the beds with edible plants. Ms. Nelson was particularly drawn to the Thai basil, and she planted it in a prominent spot so she could come back and check on it.
Part of the joy of the planting event was spending time together. Our planting events are always as much about meeting new people and building community as much as they are about getting plants in the ground. Volunteers, staff, and residents sat under umbrellas and drank lemonade, talked gardening, and looked over seedlings before planting them.
We are looking forward to seeing my new friends at the nursing home again very soon.