With the support of The Home Depot Canada Foundation, the Portage Elora Youth Garden Project is one of several recreational activities youth will have the opportunity to participate in this summer. Youth will cultivate, nurture and grow the vegetable garden with the help of staff in Elora. They will also be responsible for building a fence, planting and maintaining the garden and for ensuring that it thrives and produces edible vegetables.
Portage believes that engaging in recreational activities is a good way to put the competencies acquired in rehabilitation therapy into practice. The garden project reinforces these competencies in several ways, but most importantly it provides a calming physical activity in a stress-relieving environment and also improve youth’s sense of responsibility, accomplishment and self-sufficiency. The project also aims to increase the education and awareness of organic produce and its nutritional benefits.
Here are some of the thoughts from our new farmers on how this project has impacted them so far:
“Working in the garden has helped me feel more calm and relaxed because I am able to focus on what I am accomplishing instead of all the other worries I have”
“It has taught me about having a routine. It takes discipline that some people may not have. It helps to build a new skill which is relatable in my program. As we see the plants grow, so do we in our own lives.”
“I enjoy gardening. It helps me to relax and keep my cool, so I don’t explode. It helps me manage my anger. It’s a coping strategy for me.”
Make sure you follow Portage Ontario on Twitter and Facebook for updates and photos of the vegetable hall throughout the summer! We’re hoping for a successful planting season so that excess produce not consumed by the facility can be donated to the Wellington County Foodbank.