The raised garden beds at Perry Wellness Center continue to flourish this late fall. First begun as an educational project through a grant from Agrium, Inc., the gardens have become not only a learning experience, but a source of both recreation and profit for many peers.
The educational process begins with information on seeding and planting chosen garden varieties, then continues as peers learn proper care for growing plants, such as watering and fertilization. As a final step, peers learn harvesting procedures.
Peers take pride in their designated garden beds and spend hours tending to them through all the seasons. At harvest time, they have the option to have their produce sold at Rudy’s Happy Patch Market or taken home for family enjoyment.
"The raised beds have really become a mini-classroom at Perry Wellness Center,” says Phyllis Smith, who helped initiate the project. “Peers who are chosen for the raised gardens appreciate the information that we share with them.”
She believes that the program’s newest project is a logical outgrowth. The recently established Nutrition Kitchen teaches peers food preparation techniques and prepares healthy recipes for peers to sample.
“Now with the Nutrition Kitchen and food preparation,” Miss Phyllis notes, “Peers can appreciate their own 'farm-to-table’ experience. It really is unique to realize that we have the total program, from planting the seed to now harvesting and enjoying the peer’s harvest.”
Daisy and Robert Bell are two Perry Wellness Center peers who enjoy the gardening experience. In the photo above, they are shown planning their first harvest of broccoli from their raised garden bed.