Roald Dahl (in Rhyme Stew) wrote this parody of the familiar nursery rhyme:
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow?
“I live with my brat in a high-rise flat so how in the world would I know.”
Actually, that probably describes the situation of many of our clients (not the brat part, but living without access to a garden). A 75 year old woman who gets less than 30 minutes of exercise a day needs 2 cups of vegetables daily, according to the U.S. Government, in addition to one cup of fruit. A 75 year old man who gets 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day needs 3 cups of vegetables daily, in addition to two cups of fruit.
Fresh is best! Home-grown produce that hasn’t been poisoned with pesticides and hasn’t degraded while traveling across the country or from another continent has far more benefits than what many grocery stores offer.
Volunteers with TLC Meals on Wheels are making an effort to get home-grown, fresh produce onto the plates of those who receive our daily lunch. For one thing, our volunteers have planted a garden in the backyard of the Ames Building where we have our kitchen. Other volunteers have agreed to keep it watered and weeded until the plants yield healthful vegetables for harvest.
In addition, our volunteers will stop by the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield eight times this summer to collect large quantities of fresh produce for use in our meals or grocery deliveries. This program is part of a pioneering project called Community Supporting Agriculture, funded by Kaiser Permanente. No chemical-based herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers are used on these crops. According to the Denver Botanic Gardens, “In 2011, the Chatfield CSA produced over 11 tons (45,900 lbs.) of produce on three acres of land. Just over two tons (4,188 lbs.) of produce were donated to local nonprofit organizations [such as TLC Meals on Wheels] in the Rocky Mountain region.”
It’s possible we’ll find still more sources for fresh vegetables. For instance, one of our clients was a master gardener and kept an organic garden in her backyard for 30 years, but now she’s unable to dig, weed, or kneel down to work in it. She’s willing to water it, but volunteers would need to till it, plant it, and tend to it. Maybe this is your opportunity to become a gardener!