Fostering Fun and Fruitful Labor in the Heart of Summer
Throughout Ocean County, there are now 17 raised garden beds built at residential group homes. Most of these gardens have already been established with the assistance of people with disabilities in planting them. Each established garden bed is supplemented with programming offered by the Health Education staff of the Ocean County Health Department, and each participating location will receive a gardening tool bag as well. Each tool bag (pictured above) is pre-filled with gardening tools including a cultivator, trowel, and transplanter as well as fertilizer and gloves to help gardeners maintain their garden. Each garden includes a colorful variety of produce plants including broccoli, peppers (2 varieties), cucumber, radish, tomatoes (3 varieties), cabbage, lettuce, green beans, squash (3 varieties), watermelon, eggplant, and brussels sprouts!
With inclusivity in mind, the gardens were established, planted, and programming was conducted in a way that involves people with disabilities as much as possible. Moving forward, the OCHD plans to conduct nutrition programming and highlight healthy recipes utilizing the produce that can be harvested from these gardens. Our two clinical nutritionists will work to incorporate participants’ favorite vegetables where possible, especially varieties being grown in the newly established garden.
Our team is working hard to improve the health of individuals with disabilities and quickly gaining momentum with this project. Participants are enjoying the gardens and programs which is reassurance that these gardens will be well tended to and thrive. Some locations are already harvesting produce from their gardens and enjoying the delicious fruits of their labor in a very literal way! The OCHD looks forward to continued programming for these gardens and the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the process.
About the Grantee
In partnership with our community, we are committed to serving as a leader to promote healthy lifestyles, ensure a clean and safe environment, and provide high-quality public health services to protect our present and future generations.