Lifeview’s residents have successfully teamed with its Chefs and Gardeners to cultivate and grow fresh produce for its kitchens.
Aptly titled Planting with a Purpose, the hugely popular and successful program sees residents involved in everything from germinating seedlings, to planting, tending and harvesting the produce.
Each quarter, when planning the season’s menus, which is also done in consultation with the residents, the Chefs advise the gardening team of the fresh produce they will be requiring. The gardeners in turn work with the residents to cultivate and grow as much produce as they can.
“The program has been an enormous hit,” said Stephen Milsted, Lifeview’s Manager, Hospitality Services.
“We knew we had a lot of gardening enthusiasts amongst the resident group, as the green thumb groups were always a popular activity, but this program has seen more and more residents wanting to be involved as much as they can.”
“There is something very satisfying about eating something you have had a hand in growing.”
“We are not talking the harvesting of the odd apple or some herbs. The residents are harvesting enough produce to feed an entire home a salad for lunch or a side dish at dinner”, Milsted added.
To support the program Lifeview invested in Vegepod raised garden beds. The Vegepod not only gives the benefit of a raised garden bed but also comes with a cover, helping to extend the growing season and accelerate plant growth. The beds are on castor wheels, so the gardens can be wheeled inside or undercover during inclement weather, giving residents a year-round activity with meaning and purpose.
“The Vegepods added to and complemented our available gardening space”, Lifeview’s Head Gardener, Daniel de Sachau said. “We have been able to turn underutilised garden spaces into mini market gardens growing vegetables such as corn, zucchini, radishes and a variety of lettuce”, he added.
Both Milsted and de Sachau agree the Planting with a Purpose program has been one of the most popular and rewarding programs they have been involved with.
“Seeing the smiles on the faces of the residents when they bring the produce to the kitchen or as they sit down to share a meal, which they had a hand in creating, really makes your day,” Milsted added.