The purpose of a “shared garden” in the Better at Home program, is to connect seniors who have a garden they can no longer look after fully, with community members who don’t have their own garden, but have the energy to care for one.
A shared garden also involves creating cross-generational relationships and making seniors feel a part of the community.
The Better at Home program helps seniors live in their own homes by providing simple non-medical support services by volunteers, while keeping them engaged with their community.
In sharing a garden, the program also contributes to the preservation of existing gardens, and to food security in the Bulkley Valley.
It may not sound like the best time to discuss gardening, when the harvesting season is almost over, but when gardening involves partnership and collaborative work, the fall is a good time to plan for the next planting season.
There are community gardens in Telkwa and Smithers where residents can grow their own vegetables, but there is a waitlist to get access to a plot.
There are also seniors in the valley who had productive gardens for many years, but who are starting to find it challenging to care for them so they are either downsizing their gardens or giving them up altogether.
The program is looking for volunteers to take part and the resulting harvest from the partnership would be shared between both parties.
“It would be essential to match people who have a similar vision for their gardening partnership, and have a written agreement approved by both parties before any seeds are sown,” said program coordinator François Depey.
Depey suggested an agreement could include;
· The cost of planting the garden (seeds, plants, etc.).
· The amount of time expected for the community member to be at the senior’s property.
· The expectations for harvest sharing.
· And any other personal considerations.
The next planting season starts now with garlic and Better at Home could provide the first gardening partnerships with garlic bulbs to be planted.
“Better at Home could also provide composters for the gardens as an incentive to ignite the program,” Depey said.
Contact email@example.com or call François Depey at (250) 847-9515 ext. 2008.
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