Nelly Rabinowitz is ready to kick off her third season of the Bethany Farmer's Market in a couple of weeks, with this year's program offering more to seniors.
"There's a lot of isolation that goes on in our community," says Rabinowitz. After talking with Bethany Director of Human Services Jeanne DelVecchio, Rabinowitz realized she could be doing more to get fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands of seniors.
She thought it might be nice to give seniors a chance to get their hands a little dirty. Since many of our elderly grew up in a time when gardening was much more abundant, it's a spring and summer activity that they greatly miss, since as they've aged, they're less able to take care of a garden.
"It's planting time and it would be pretty cool to see if the gardeners in Bethany would like to adopt a senior," Rabinowitz explains. "They can plant extra fruits and vegetables for them to take care of and have."
"I have this thing about taking care of the elder in our community," Rabinowitz says. "I feel that as a community, we have a responsibility to the elderly. Feeding is such a nurturing ritual that we can grow through gardening."
There are several ways seniors can be included in gardening, according to Rabinowitz.
"Since there are so many gardeners in Bethany and so many left over vegetables that people don't know what to do with. I think it just makes sense," she says. "The idea is to not just nurture the elderly, it's part of the whole food-chain system. Food is imported from different countries and sprayed and I am all for the food movement that grows locally."
Last year, seniors were given coupons through the Department of Agriculture for fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmer's Market. In addition, Rabinowitz arranged for many of the vendors at the Farmer's Market to donate food to the Monday meal prepared for Bethany seniors.
"I'm sure there are some elderly who have gardens, but I think either adopting someone to give extra vegetables and fruits to them or allowing them to maintain a portion of your garden would be a nice way to help," she says.
For more information, email Nelly at email@example.com.