Community garden helps sustain low-income seniors

By Published On: November 4th, 2022

Linda M. harvests produce from her plot at Englewood Garden.

Through Marion Polk Food Share’s Community Gardens program, more than 60 gardens are helping our neighbors grow fresh produce while developing connections with one another.

The gardens are fully sustained by the gardeners themselves, who weed, water, plant, and harvest their plots with plant starts, compost and supplies provided by the Food Share.

Thanks to generous community support, one of the Food Share’s community gardens is ensuring that local seniors can grow their own fresh produce without leaving home.

Englewood Garden is located on-site at Englewood Apartments, a Salem apartment complex that provides affordable housing for low-income seniors. The garden is open to anyone in the complex who wants to grow produce and is popular and well-loved by the residents. During the pandemic, the garden provided a unique opportunity for seniors to spend time outdoors, socialize while maintaining safe distance, and practice self-care.

Englewood Apartments resident Doris enjoys growing fresh produce in a community garden.

The garden also has helped ensure that the seniors have access to fresh produce, especially when transportation barriers make it difficult to go to the grocery store. Many seniors at the complex do not have a vehicle, and rising gas prices have been an enormous barrier for those who do. The complex is a quarter of a mile from the nearest bus stop, and for those who do not have local family members who can drive them to the grocery store, the opportunity to grow produce has been vital.

An added benefit is the friendships they are making. Many of the seniors at Englewood also share the produce they grow. When they have extra produce, they share it in their community room for anyone to use, which is also an excellent way for seniors to get to know their neighbors and make strong friendships. Community gardens provide so much more than fresh produce. They provide valuable connections, improved health, and foster independence.

Support for the 2022 Community Gardens program came from the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Salem Foundation, and community members like you. Your support is providing neighbors with the resources to sustainably grow fresh produce while developing valuable connections within their communities.