Home Care in Arlington VA
Flowers are blooming, trees are filling out, butterflies are fluttering, and everything is turning green. It must be April. And if it’s April, that means it’s, National Gardening Month.
According to the National Gardening Association, “research confirms, that nurturing plants is good for us: attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, kids perform better at school, and community spirit grows.”
Growing, nurturing, and tending to a garden may be exactly what your parent needs if they’ve been sad or disengaging from social activities. Gardening can be a great addition to any elder home care plan. Even if your parent doesn’t have a backyard or balcony that they can use to grow produce, they may be able to take part in a community garden.
A community garden is a garden that belongs to the community. Your aging parent and his or her neighbors join together to grow fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, and/or plants. It provides the emotional comfort that your parent may need, as well as providing them with social interactions, exercise, and an opportunity to take joint ownership in something positive.
Another positive impact of community gardens is that it not only provides inexpensive food for growers, but it also gives those growers an opportunity to make food available for the homeless.
The first thing you need to do is find out if your neighborhood already has a community garden. If they do, the next step easy. Find out how your parent can participate.
If your community doesn’t already have a garden, the first thing that needs to be done is:
- Get others in the community together to discuss creating a community garden. Talk about the positive impact a community garden could have on the community as well as what needs gardeners want it to meet. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has a website at https://peoplesgarden.usda.gov/ that can help teach everyone the basics and benefits of gardening.
- Find a space for your garden. It must be an area of land that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day. Often, cities will lease plots of land for a community garden. You may also find private land owners who will allow the community to use their land to create a community garden.
- Gather the needed tools. Gardening requires digging, pulling weeds, planting, and many other tasks. See what tools your parent’s fellow gardeners already have to contribute to the project.
The USDA’s national educational network offers, “Cooperative Extension Offices in communities around the country, where Extension Master Gardeners can help with gardening challenges and give advice on what grows best in your area.” Find out more at: https://nifa.usda.gov/Extension
Community gardening is a wonderful way to meet others in the community while doing something healthy. To find out more about community gardening, go to: https://peoplesgarden.usda.gov/