Growing for elders: community gardens harvest for block nurse programs
Neighbors looking out for neighbors. When it works, its a direct way to gain a sustainable neighborhood via self reliance.
In SE Como, the OWLS Garden Shares community garden has been following this concept for several years. The organic produce they grow is shared with elders in the community through a collaboration with the Southeast Seniors (SES). Gardeners take a bit home and each elder on our list gets a bag of fresh picked vegetables.
The relationship between the community garden and the local neighborhood block nurse program has worked out well for all. Further, OWLS gardeners are primarily U of Mn students and their efforts are a great example of a positive impact of the off-campus student body.
This successful model is spreading to the Midway area of Saint Paul too. A group of Hamline University students have taken up the passion to grow food everywhere. They call themselves Hamline SPROUTS (Students Proposing Real Options for Underutilized Territory) and have hooked up with the greater community, include that Hamline Midway Elders, a block nurse program.
Many community gardens regularly donate produce to food shelves, Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis and Midway Greenspirit in St. Paul for example. The block nurse collaboration is actually more similar to a CSA (community supported agriculture) arrangement since the same list of individuals get a share of each harvest. As a result, more of a relationship between grower and eater is created.
I am finding that up & coming 20 year-olds have increasing interest in acquiring the know how to grow-your-own food . I find that hopeful.