Johnson's garden project keeps seniors in mind

July 8, 2015

One of the things blossoming from Dr. Shanthi Johnson’s work is a new gardening project in Estevan to promote health aging in place for seniors, as well as bring a community together.

Dr. Shanthi Johnson (second from right) with community partners at launch. (Photo, Barb Wright)
Dr. Shanthi Johnson (second from right) with community partners at launch. (Photo, Barb Wright)

In June, she helped partners for the It Takes a Village…Growing Together for Promoting Healthy Aging in Place project break ground on the community garden.

Johnson applied to the Fulbright Canada-RBC Eco-Leadership Program for funding and has worked with community partners and the Sun Country Health Region (SCHR) to establish the garden projects, which is an age-friendly community garden.

“This is a really practical project and a new partnership with SCHR and the City of Estevan,” Johnson says. “We hope this will lead to other initiatives to promote healthy aging in place in the future.

The project is taking place at a vacant lot in Estevan, with 18-inch raised beds that are accessible to youth or senior, as well as those that use wheeled walkers.

A total of 16 raised garden plots are to be built with support of youth from the local school, families and seniors, while Johnson and a Public Health Nutritionist will provide education on different aspects on gardening, with help from local gardeners and experts. “All involved will volunteer their time with all the produce will be donated to the local food bank,” Johnson says. Beyond the physical component to the project, it also provides a way to counteract social isolation among seniors.

The goal of the Fulbright Canada RBC Eco-Leadership Program is to support volunteer-based project that will make a significant positive environmental impact in the community and engage with the community. This project promises to achieve this goal and help the new partnerships grow and flourish to benefit the communities. 

It Takes a Village was featured in a recent story in the Estevan Mercury in which Johnson talks not only about the project but the importance of her experiences with maintaining garden plots at home when she and her siblings were children. Estevan Lifestyles also ran a piece on the project.


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