There’s nothing quite like food to bring people together. In fact, human beings have been using meals as a social construct for as long as records have been recorded. So, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that neighborhood gardens – even in the most urban settings – have stood the test of time and are still popular in today’s fast-paced digital age. In a world where isolation and loneliness among older adults is higher than ever, beginning a community garden with a senior can be a fun way to socialize. for you and them.
Gardening is something that people of every age can take part in, including an older adult who may not be quite as mobile or social as they once were. An activity you can share is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Besides the social interaction, here are five other reasons why you should start or join a community garden with a senior.
1. A great physical activity – Moving soil, crates and flowers around all afternoon requires a lot of energy. While not everyone has the same endurance, gardening provides a good workout for many older adults – without even thinking about it.
2. Beautifies the block – Vacant lots are often an eyesore. A garden helps revive neighborhoods and parks – something both of you can be proud of.
3. Most cities offer designated lots for FREE – Depending on your location, city and local governments often provide garden areas at no cost to residents. Check out how Berkeley, Calif operates their community gardens.
4. You eat more fruits and vegetables – According to research from North Carolina State University, those who participate in community gardening eat far better than those who don’t. That’s a huge benefit, particularly for lonely or socially isolated seniors who aren’t meeting their nutrition needs.
5. It’s a lot of fun – Even if you aren’t a green thumb or handy around power or gardening tools, you can share priceless moments with someone you care about.
Ready to start a community garden? Check out the National Agricultural Library to find various guides, tool kits and publications that can help you get started in your neighborhood.