How does your garden grow? For action pact’s Atkinson County Coordinator Rebecca Scott, it started with sowing a seed to meet a need.
Scott, who was aware of the physical, mental and social benefits of gardening, thought a group garden at Atkinson County’s Senior Citizens Center was sure to yield a rich harvest.
“Community gardens contribute to a healthy lifestyle by providing fresh fruits and vegetables and by increasing physical activity. Working in the garden also gives senior center participants a chance to express their social and creative sides,” Scott said.
She pointed out that gardening engages the brain as well and helps older adults stay mentally sharp, but that’s not all. “Elders who participate in group gardens experience an increased sense of belonging in their communities, and that’s so important”, Scott shared.
As with any garden, Scott’s community garden did not spring up overnight. In action pact fashion, she developed a plan then took it to the community to cultivate support for her project. She approached the Atkinson Senior Center site manager, who was receptive, but told Scott they needed to secure Mayor Robert Johnson’s permission before moving forward.
Once Scott got the go-ahead from the mayor, she called on local contacts for materials for a 5 X 8 bed, which community volunteers built and set up at the senior center. They also provided potting soil, fertilizer, plants and seeds.
According to Scott, senior center participants took over from there and are literally digging their garden: “The seniors wanted to do the planting themselves. They are very excited to tend the garden and watch it grow,” she said.
It’s wonderful to see what can happen when communities come together to lend support and improve the lives of their neighbors!