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The words summer and gardens almost go hand in hand. When I was a little girl, I can remember helping my grandfather work in his garden. I never really liked many vegetables, but I did love green peppers, green beans and carrots and my grandfather always let me plant those each year. I would go out and check them with him and hope for growth. For me, it was an easy summer pastime. For him, it was a way of life that he had always known. Our connection over the garden created many lasting memories for me.

My grandfather wasn’t alone in his love for gardening. For a lot of people, it can be a very therapeutic experience. For many it brings joy and pride to grow something from a seed and then share it with others. In a lot of small towns or communities, neighbors often share their garden bounty with each other as a symbol of their friendship and generosity.

Elders and Stakeholders at Signature HealthCARE of Putnam County quickly realized that they had many new neighbors that did not have access to space or resources to plant a garden. This birthed an innovative solution in which they decided to share their space for the city’s first community garden area.

With the help of local businesses and the city itself, they were able to transform unused space into what they are calling The Community Garden and it has been a blessing to all. The Community Garden provides raised garden beds for families and individuals who might want to try their hand at gardening this year. It also offers individuals in in the community the opportunity to stop by and grab something for their families if needed. The community has been encouraged to reserve a plot if they are interested in exploring their gardening side!

Shelley West, Quality of Life Director, said “We have had several neighbors and even Stakeholders use the garden already. It is our way of beautifying our city and contributing towards a healthier living environment for everyone.”

The Community Garden gives Elders the opportunity to provide a resource that is much needed by others and fulfills a void of connectedness in their lives. The ability to be connected to the community around us is a very vital need we all share. In fact, it is often our desire to be connected to something larger than ourselves that brings us the most joy.