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Community Garden Provides Fresh Vegetables for Area Seniors

Southwest Senior Center and Watercourse Counseling partner to provide fresh produce to area seniors.

While many people at Southwest Senior Center grew up on farms or having a home garden, most give up gardening as they grow older, either because they no longer have a yard or a family to feed. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t love a fresh tomato or
cucumber. 

Southwest Senior Center and Watercourse Counseling have been teaming up for the past five years to provide gardening opportunities and fresh produce to local seniors.   Since the two non-profits are just half a block from each other, it seemed like a natural fit to work together on the garden project.  Watercourse has green space in the front and back yards, while the Center has none.  Previous attempts to garden at the Center meant moving pots in and out each day, and having little to show for a lot of effort.  Martha Olsen, Director of Watercourse, came to the rescue when she offered up space at the Watercourse.  And, not only did Martha provide the space, she and her family have provided much of the prep work over the years, with her children Lars, Kjell and Maia helping to chop down limbs and turn over soil and her husband, Glen, building a patio in the backyard.

Senior and neighborhood volunteers do the watering, weeding and harvesting.  Sarah Tarleton, a neighborhood volunteer, is dedicated to helping seniors get access to fresh vegetables.  “It’s so gratifying when we distribute the food and people are really excited about getting something straight from the garden.”  Judy Ann Leavitt , 69, stops by every Sunday to water the plants.  “I like helping out with the garden, and I want to make sure that the plants don’t dry out over the weekend.”  Based on feedback from the seniors, this year’s crop will focus on tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, zucchini and raspberries.

A group will be going over every Wednesday morning at 10:30 am to weed and water.  If you’d like to help with the community garden, contact me at 612-822-3194 or mschoenberger@voamn.org

Southwest Senior Center, part of Volunteers of America – Minnesota, is a  friendly, helpful place where seniors feel comfortable socializing and engaging in activities that enhance their physical, mental and spiritual health and wellness. 
Each year the Center provides services and programs for over 700 seniors
through its adult day, social work, health and nutrition programs, educational
and cultural events, caregiver support services, and volunteer opportunities.  The  Center is located at 3612 Bryant Avenue South and its phone number is 822-3194.

Watercourse
Counseling Center
, founded in 1999 as the Mental Health Collective, is a nonprofit agency established to improve the emotional health of a diverse community. Watercourse’s mission is to solve problems through community partnership; locate services in community locations; and mentor mental health professionals and others in community outreach and collaboration.  Watercourse is located at 3548 Bryant Avenue S and its phone number is 612-822-8227.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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