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Growing Food at Home

Sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Few foods taste better than fresh, homegrown vegetables. Whether it be the crunch of newly harvested greens or the slice of a just ripened tomato, the natural flavors found in a garden make for memorable meals. Thanks to the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, 100 CareGivers Caring Cupboard (CCC) clients will have the chance to grow fresh produce in their own homes. Each client has received a windowsill planter, a bag of soil, and vegetable seeds to start their own indoor garden. The growing kit yields a few vegetables per growing season and can be used for multiple years. Participating clients were very thankful and eager to try out their green thumbs.

The inspiration behind this project stems from the belief that everyone should have access to fresh foods. When looking for fresh foods, most people turn to farmers markets, CSAs, specialty stores, and supermarkets, but these resources lie beyond the reach of many CCC clients for a variety of reasons. Some experience physical limitations and cannot leave their homes or ride the bus. Many cannot reliably afford food, let alone more expensive fresh foods. Some clients live in areas without public transportation and can no longer drive. Most CCC clients experience a combination of these obstacles and greatly appreciate efforts to provide access to fresh foods.
Why are fresh foods important? Fresh fruits and vegetables directly contribute to a healthy and balanced diet. They contain essential nutrients and micronutrients without the added salt, fat, sugar, and preservatives of processed foods. Removing these excesses helps with managing weight and blood pressure, reducing the risks of obesity and heart disease. Fresh fruits and vegetables also serve as a good source of fiber and aid digestive health. As they contain fewer ingredients than processed foods, fresh foods also simplify monitoring for individuals with restrictive diets. All of these nutritional benefits confirm why everyone should have access to fresh food.

The windowsill gardens provided by Harvard Pilgrim offer benefits beyond providing a source of fresh produce. Caring for a garden, no matter how small, serves as a relaxing experience that helps maintain good mental health. Plants act as low maintenance pets for individuals with limited mobility. The care and nurturing that they require instill a sense of purpose and ownership. For many people, harvesting and cooking food is just as fun as actually eating it! For housebound individuals, houseplants serve as a connection to nature. Observing and thinking about them can help keep life in perspective. Recipients will no doubt enjoy tending their indoor garden.

We hope that more CCC clients will be able to receive planter kits in the future. They supplement the produce packages included in CCC monthly deliveries by providing a few vegetables throughout the growing season. Their presence also reminds clients about the important role of fresh vegetables in maintaining their health.

Claudia, planter box

planter box


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