Winter Park Health Foundation Grant Helps Calvary Towers Community Garden Grow

Residents at Calvary Towers, a Winter Park senior housing community for low-income adults age 62 or older, will have their own vegetable garden to plant and harvest, thanks to a $3,500 grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) through the Older Adults Work Group.

Volunteer labor for constructing the beds will be provided by AARP members as part of the organization’s National Day of Service on September 14, 2010.

A group of residents spearheaded the garden project and secured support from building management and the Residents Council to create raised beds that are accessible to individuals with limited mobility.

The community’s unused shuffleboard court will be converted for the project, providing a level, concrete surface that ensures safe pathways for residents in wheelchairs and on scooters.  Common areas of the Calvary Towers facility include a large dining hall, equipped with a kitchen, if residents want to prepare healthy recipes to showcase the “fruits” of their labor.  There is also a small store where an overabundant harvest can be sold or shared with others.

Trina Hofreiter, a local community garden coordinator, will oversee the project and has had several meetings with residents to educate them about growing seasons, materials needed and local resources available to them. Ms. Hofreiter’s position was created by and is supported with grants from WPHF and The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida as well as Get Active Orlando.

The Calvary Towers landscape gardener also will support the garden by lending a hand and providing ongoing advice. Compost is being requested from Orange County, pending commissioner approval.  The building management company will absorb the cost of water needed for irrigation, and residents will tend the garden once established.  Their goal is to plant the garden by October 1, 2010.

Residents involved in the planning process include a retired farmer who can’t wait “to get his hands dirty again.”  Another resident shared, “We’re excited that this garden represents a great chance for our residents to grow their own healthy food and improve their quality of life. Thank you so much for your assistance with this project!”