Grass Valley seniors get access to fresh fruits, veggies with new garden | TheUnion.com

Grass Valley seniors get access to fresh fruits, veggies with new garden

Emily Lavin
Staff Writer

Residents of Grass Valley's Nevada Meadows senior apartment community will soon have increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables, thanks to a new garden right in the affordable housing complex's backyard.

The 100-square-foot garden is a collaboration between the Nevada County Department of Public Health, Sierra Harvest and residents of the apartment complex. Members of those groups were joined by other volunteers, including the Gold Country Kiwanis and members of the key clubs at Nevada Union and Ghidotti Early College high schools on Saturday to build raised beds to help bring the garden to life.

The garden at Nevada Meadows has been a few years in the making, said Shaun Havard, community liason with the county's public health department. The idea first came up among seniors at the complex when the department of public health, through its Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention program, was offering cooking and nutrition classes at Nevada Meadows.

"As part of those classes, they began a conversation about how to get more fresh fruits and veggies into their diets," Havard said.

Eventually, Havard was able to get permission from the apartment's manager and owner to permit the garden.

That's where Sierra Harvest came in. One of the programs offered by the Nevada City-based nonprofit is Sierra Gardens, in which the organization helps families build a backyard garden, and provides two years' worth of supplies and mentoring to ensure the garden is successful.

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Sierra Harvest designed the garden beds, Havard said, and will be working with Nevada Meadows residents to help them learn how to take care of the garden.

Nevada Meadows resident Donna Taylor said seniors at the complex are looking forward to getting the garden underway.

"Just to have it out there, and sit and chit chat and watch the garden, it will be fun," Taylor said. "I'm excited."

The garden won't just provide residents with increased opportunities to be outside or to work together on a project, Havard said; it will also give them a simple way to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets on a more consistent basis.

"It's an amazing thing to see people wanting to grow their own food in an urban, or somewhat urban environment," Havard said. "When people see that it can be done and that there's assistance in the community to do that, more people will do it."

To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email elavin@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

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