Throughout the month of March senior YMCA members enjoyed visits from Lorraine Gibbons who is the garden master mind of the community garden project taking root at the Garfield YMCA this Spring. Lorraine met with the seniors after one of their exercise classes to talk with them about her “traveling farm,” earthboxes that can be located almost anywhere and can grow almost anything, in abundance! She also spent time getting to know the seniors: What’s their heritage? What vegetables do you associate with your heritage, your childhood? Who is growing food in their back yards? What are you successful growing?
Well the seniors weren’t quite ready to wait for planting season. They were all very interested in the earthbox system and started making their lists of what they wanted to plant. This brought Lorraine back for another visit. She came back with an earth box and showed our seniors how they would be growing food in the boxes and what the harvest looks like!
Many of the seniors at the Y knew about the garden that was at Jewel Street Park last year, and are excited to have the garden at the Y this year, and also to have the opportunity to help plant, maintain and harvest. This is the perfect starting point for the vision of an intergenerational garden. The YMCA preschool plans to implement garden curriculum for the children and they will often work on activities with the YMCA’s senior members in the garden.
The preschoolers, who each have an earthbox in their classrooms, received their “grow lights” this week and staking system so they could successfully grow food indoors. Their boxes will be set up shortly and a family planting night will take place during one of the Parent Association Meetings this Spring.
The winter has been a rough one, as will anyone who is wanting to grow food will tell you. Inspecting the grounds was an issue in and of itself because snow was on the ground so long. We were finally successful mapping out our garden plan this week. Not only will earthboxes be planted off the main parking lot of our Y, we found we have space to plant some flowers, and best of all, on our playground! Our preschoolers will get a delightful treat! Sunflowers for the Spring and Pumpkins for the Fall!