Urban Garden Classroom Opens Its Gates To Seniors

Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP) Garden Club members gathered around the Urban Garden Classroom’s (UGC) Environmental Educator Randy Cameron, Jr. to learn how to properly start the growth of a vegetable plant by potting its seed in soil.

Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP) Garden Club members gathered around the Urban Garden Classroom’s (UGC) Environmental Educator Randy Cameron, Jr. to learn how to properly start the growth of a vegetable plant by potting its seed in soil.

 

Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP) has added another activity to its roster.  It now has a Garden Club for community residents with a green thumb or want to acquire one. Since July, club members have enjoyed regular visits to the Spring Creek Recreational Fund (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) on Louisiana Avenue.

The Garden Club is a natural addition to  SCSP’s ongoing effort to encourage and help older adults to understand how important it is to their health and independence to eat fresh and nutritious foods.  Club members now grow, cook and eat organic vegetables, herbs and fruits produced in their neighborhood garden.

“From planting tiny seeds, watching them grow to picking the actual vegetables from plants, it has been an exciting experience,” said Rema Kabani, SCSP Coordinator of Volunteer Services and Special Events, as she described the club members’ reaction to working in the garden. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to participate in a fun and rewarding activity.”

Since its beginning in 2012, the garden has been a source of garden fresh, organic vegetables –from tomatoes, cucumbers, collard greens, carrots, lettuce, zucchini, peppers to strawberry, mint, rosemary, basil and more – grown, tended and harvested by Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) community’s school aged children.  Over the years, they have shared their harvest with residents who go to SCSP for information and service. “Whenever we give residents produce from the garden, we receive great feedback. They like that it’s fresh and taste good,” Kabani said.

Many vegetables and flowers get their start as a seedling grown in a small pot. Garden club members learned secret ... place one seed in each other of the pot.

Many vegetables and flowers get their start as a
seedling grown in a small pot. Garden club
members learned secret … place one seed in
each other corner of the pot.

The UGC connection has prompted SCSP to host a cooking demonstration to show SCT’s older residents how to prepare and cook healthy meals using raw garden grown vegetables and herbs. “We would like them to taste and know the benefits of eating fresh and nutritious foods,” said Kabani, who is planning the event.

SCRF created UGC to help educate young people about the natural sciences through a hands-on experience, it flourishes under the watchful eyes of environmental educator Randy Cameron, who works with SCT’s schoolchildren, school administrators and teachers.

During this year’s gardening season, additional planting beds were installed making it possible for the UGC to offer gardening opportunities to other members of the community.  With Cameron’s assistance, SCSP’s Garden Club came together. “Randy is a great teacher who patiently explained to us what had to be done,” said Kabani who gardens alongside residents. So enthusiastic about their gardening, the club created a window herb garden inside the SCSP office.

Fern Sabin is a first-time gardener and charter member of the SCSP Garden Club.

Fern Sabin is a first-time gardener and charter member of the SCSP Garden Club.

The SCSP Garden Club began with a hand full of residents interested in gardening as a pastime. A couple of members joined to resume gardening, something they had not done since leaving their homes in the Caribbean or the south. One member grows vegetables on her terrace and wanted to do more. Kabani says club membership is opened and SCSP is looking forward to the club growing.

To learn more about the Spring Creek Senior Partners Garden Club, call 718/348.7620

By Agnes Green


 

ABOUT THE SCRF URBAN GARDEN CLASSROOM (UGC):   Located on Louisiana Avenue between Twin Pines Drive and Seaview Avenue, it was created in May 2012 by the Spring Creek Recreational Fund (SCRF) for  utilization by Spring Creek Towers’ public schools and yeshiva … to enhance the teaching of science and math concepts, and to encourage outdoor activity and a healthy lifestyle.”