Throughout the summer, seniors learned how to nurture their green thumbs thanks to a program created by Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP). For about six weeks, Garden Educator Jacqui Roytman taught the seniors how to garden, incorporate healthy fruit and vegetables into their diet, and to stay active.
During the first week members got their hands dirty and planted colorful flowers in front of the SCSP’s office. For the remainder of program, they planted, harvested and ate various tasty vegetables. “A lot of the seniors are in a transition where they are no longer cooking for their families. They are now cooking for one, so I wanted to show them how they can incorporate fresh vegetables in their diet,” said Roytman, who even had the members step out of their comfort zone by trying exotic vegetables, like kohlrabi.
SCSP Executive Director, Theodora Ziongas developed the club in hopes of fostering healthier eating habits, practicing a therapeutic activity and increasing the seniors’ level of exercise to help mobility and flexibility. “Roytman organized and led a very interesting, informative and interactive program where seniors not only learned gardening tips but also tips on healthy eating, incorporating fresh vegetables and herbs into their everyday dishes, and substituting salt with nutritious and delicious ingredients straight from the garden,” said Ziongas, who was pleased with the program’s success.
On August 18th, the program culminated with a party at the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC). Everyone brought something special to the festivities. Some members made fish cakes, potato latkes, and snacks. Roytman provided freshly squeezed beverages, and baked ratatouille for the gardening enthusiasts. She even brought along a portable stove so that the seniors could help her make a vegetable stir-fry from food they harvested at UGC.
Many of the attendees laughed as they enjoyed the meal together. However, it was also a bittersweet moment as they said their goodbyes to one another, and the summer season. The seniors unanimously agreed that the experience was educational, fun and provided them the opportunity to make new friends.
“The seniors were given the opportunity to harvest and cook some vegetables and herbs themselves, providing a fun method of exercising, socializing with other seniors and enjoying the beautiful outdoors,” said Ziongas, who is very grateful for this opportunity given to SCSP members.
Photos: Jacqui Roytman