Creating Age Friendly Community Gardens

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1 GARDEN GUIDE Creating Age Friendly Community Gardens

2 TRUST US is an intergenerational community initiative to bridge the gap between teens and seniors. The aim is to foster friendlier, safer communities and to provide opportunities for teens and seniors to learn from each other. A group of teens and seniors came together to create intergenerational connections in the Gorge Tillicum neighbourhood in Victoria, BC. Their hope is to inspire other communities and neighbourhoods to do the same. The kids in hoodies aren t actually as scary as I thought. They are just wearing a hoodie! - Senior Participant I made a point of smiling and talking to some seniors in wheelchairs and scooters and they really appreciated it and were really friendly. - Teen Participant

3 Bridging the Youth Senior Gap Trust Us Teen and Senior Participants undertook a series of dialogue sessions to share perceptions and identify solutions. We asked the question: What are some of the solutions to bridge the gap between teens and seniors? We identified 3 key solutions: 1. More places and activities where we can connect 2. More understanding of what we can learn from each other 3. Get the message out that we have more similarities than differences 1

4 Supportive Structure: Board of Directors We recommend to have 1 to 3 teens sit on the Board as representatives of teens and youth Teens could use hours towards leadership, or flex hours required for courses at school and sit on the board for a one-year term Principles for an Age Friendly Community Garden Accessible for all ages and abilities to foster inclusion of everyone An inviting place for safe, shared community gatherings Environmentally friendly use of rain barrels, solar lighting and no pesticides Financially feasible for everyone should not be cost prohibitive Physical Design Designated Area for TRUST US Intergenerational Programs Ideally, the garden would incorporate a designated area specifically for seniors & teens to work together 2

5 The intergenerational program area could be a group of plots or one large area Include signage to define area - Intergenerational Garden and TRUST US logo Implement intergenerational programs to engage both groups (see: Program Opportunities) Accessible Location and Walkways/Paths Location should be easily accessible by bus or car with ease of parking Pathways should be wide enough for walkers, wheelchairs, strollers, scooters and a companion Surface must be smooth to avoid tripping or falling (suggestions: hard packed gravel may be appropriate, or asphalt, possible rubber playground surface, boardwalk) Lighting Lighting on pathways for late afternoon and evening Overhead lighting for safety and to prevent vandalism Solar powered for environmental reasons 3

6 Raised Garden Beds High beds so seniors can garden standing up or seated Some beds at wheelchair and scooter accessible height Washrooms Wheelchair friendly washrooms Intergenerational plots must be located close to washrooms 4

7 Rest Areas Include multiple rest areas in designated intergenerational space, as well as in entire garden Locate rest areas in shaded area Shed A designated shed located on the plot for intergenerational group use Include adapted tools, and supplies for intergenerational group use Access to WiFi & Electrical Plug-ins WiFi hotspot in, or close to, intergenerational area Electrical outlets to recharge personal music players & cell phones Additional Design Features to Encourage Safe Shared Community Space for Everyone Easily accessible open green space for community gatherings Seating areas could be public art and made by community (ie: cob bench) Built-in chess/checkerboard tables in the garden (could be built by art students & seniors) 5

8 Old fashioned garden swing BBQ for community picnics Oven brick or cob oven Propane heaters Mechanical awning for cover from rain Program Opportunities Suggested program opportunities to encourage interaction between seniors, teens and community members of all ages Engage Local High Schools Programs in partnership with local high schools to ensure teens are active in the intergenerational space 6

9 Produce grown could be used for school culinary arts programs Agricultural and environmental courses could be held at the garden Engage Local Seniors Centres & Organizations Partner with local seniors groups, organizations and centres to ensure seniors are active in the intergenerational space Seniors who have downsized from a home could share a plot with a teen Engage Municipal Parks & Recreation Departments To help with establishment, promotion and marketing of programs Partner with Municipalities to offer community programs in the garden Mentorship Programs For youth and seniors interested in agriculture, research, community programming, etc. 7

10 Food Security Club Produce grown could be used for community kitchens or donated to food banks Music in the Garden Events Encourage teens and seniors to informally come and play music weekends or summertime Art Classes Encourage garden to be used as a space for holding photography, painting or various art classes Host Special Community Events in the Garden Lantern Festival ex. Luminara Concerts Outdoor Movies use portable screen Star Gazing Observatory, University or Club led Family Reunions & Picnics Harvest Festival for all garden users/renters and many, many other opportunities for age friendly community engagement 8

11 Ten Steps to Foster Intergenerational Communities 1 Smile or say hello to a teen/senior it feels good. 2 Let go of stereotypical fear teens in hoodies are just teens. 3 Look beyond the barriers seniors in wheelchairs/scooters are people just like you. 4 Don t judge by age teens and seniors have a lot more similarities than differences. 5 Share your knowledge there is a lot teens and seniors can learn from each other. 6 Don t be shy to speak up everyone has something valuable to share. 7 Encourage your neighbourhood association to create opportunities for teens & seniors to work together. 8 Encourage your school or seniors centre to create mentorship opportunities for teens & seniors. 9 Encourage your recreation centre to offer intergenerational programs and activities 10 Participate you can help create safer, friendlier shared spaces in your neighbourhood. 9

12 TRUST US is an intergenerational community initiative to bridge the gap between teens and seniors. The aim is to foster friendlier, safer communities and to provide opportunities for teens and seniors to learn from each other. The Trust Us Project is sponsored by: For more info: Call Eldercare Foundation Visit us on Facebook at Trust Us Project or on

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