Center and home gardens can serve seniors throughout the state of Texas by encouraging adult day care centers to buy local produce to increase the appeal, acceptability, and nutrition value of the meals and snacks they serve through CACFP. Seniors learn the joy of gardening with hands-on activities that provide interaction with other Senior adults and caregivers.
Benefits to Seniors
- Nourishment – buying local and on-site gardening produces nutrient-dense foods and ingredients that contribute to a balanced diet.
- Physical and Mental Engagement — spending time in nature can be good for a person’s entire well-being. Gardening requires physical strength and mental patience to wait for the plants to grow. Occupational and physical therapy can be performed through gardening.
- Cost-efficiency — growing your own food and buying locally can be a cost saver.
- Lifelong Learning – gardening teaches best practices, time of day to water, how often to water and what types of plants need unique attention. Seniors learn about the health benefits of eating locally grown food, as well as how it’s better for the environment and more satisfying to their taste buds.
- Sense of Accomplishment - gardening lets seniors watch something they planted come to life. For an older adult gardening delivers a sense of meaning and accomplishment.
Always consult your doctor before engaging in physical activity to determine the level of exercise appropriate for you. Have day care staff perform the laborious tasks and have the senior residents manage the lighter garden upkeep.
Download this handy 2-page resource How to Build a Raised Edible Garden
to get started!
FNS Instruction 796‐2,Rev. 4
provides the policy on buying local foods and growing food at the day care center/home as allowable costs. Contact your regional community operations staff or your designated Education Service Center (ESC) for technical assistance on how to get started today.